The Cross River State government began the vaccination of babies against measles troubling the lives of babies between the ages of 9 to 59 months and called on both mothers and caregivers to make visitation with their babies to the nearest health care facility center for vaccination.
Speaking in Calabar shortly after flagging off the programme, Director General for the state primary health care development Agency Dr. Betta Edu, stated that the vaccination exercise was meant for all children who were between the ages of one and 5years irrespective of the baby’s sex, tribe, culture, religion or nationality so long as the baby is resident in the state.
The DG stated that the agency was prepared to vaccinate not only babies of Nigeria origin but had mandated its personnel to vaccinate both babies of refuges parents who fleet from the republic of Cameroon because of the crises in part of the Cameroon to take refuge in the state.
“We do not care where these babies come from, so long as their parents now reside in the state, the babies are entitled to have vaccination. Our business is how to protect life irrespective of the nationality of the parents” The DG maintained.
“We are aware of the fact that they are about 4000 registered Cameroonians residing in this part of the Nigeria. Even though we are aware that more than this number of their nationals do live in the Nigeria for now.” Edu said.
According to the DG, ”let every woman and care giver know that it is time to vaccinate and immunized our babies against the attack of measles which is capable of killing the baby. We do not want any woman to miss her baby”.
The DG stressed that measles was one ailment which had claimed several lives of several babies because their mothers and caregivers failed to take the babies to healthcare facility centres to received vaccination even when there was an opportunity to do so.
She said that the agency was fully prepared to give vaccination to the every baby who is taken to the nearest healthcare facility centre for measles vaccination and warned staff of the agency to vaccinate all babies notwithstanding the fact that the baby parents were citizens of the republic of Cameroon.
When asked to speak on the targeted population of for the vaccination Edu stressed that the agency is targeting about seventy thousand population density to be vaccinated in the zone.
Also speaking, Consultant to UNICEF/ Communication Development manager, Dr. Rufus Eshuchi charged all stakeholders of the programme to do all that was necessary within their reach to ensure that the purpose of the exercise is realized.
Eshuchi while lamenting on how millions of babies in Nigeria and Africa at large have lost their lives because of their parents inability to take the babies out for vaccination.
The communication Development Manager stressed that the agency is targeting about 575,000 children out of the one million children population existing in the state.
He said that the vaccination exercises which has kick-started in in Cross River State is also going to take place in 17 states of the southern states of Nigeria.