2.3m children receive polio vaccine in Anambra – Commissioner

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The Anambra State Government says 2.3 million children, under the age of 0-59 months, received Polio vaccines in the first phase of the Outbreak Response Exercise (OBR-I), in September.

Dr Afam Obidike, the state Commissioner for Health, made this known at a news conference on Thursday to flag off the second phase of the Polio immunisation campaign (OBR-II), in Awka.

The campaign is being implemented by the Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA) in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners.

Obidike said the first phase of the campaign which held from Sept.16 to 19, targeted over 1.5 million children but it recorded 140 per cent coverage as over 2.3 million children got vaccinated.

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Obidike said the second phase of vaccination was still in response to the outbreak of Polio Virus in Nkanu West in nearby Enugu state.

“We encourage parents and caregivers to present their children to be immunised to strengthen their immunity against the virus.

“We are also integrating routine immunisation during this four-day exercise as well as birth registration for children to help the state government with data to plan for their healthcare.

“So, it is an all encompassing campaign. The vaccines are safe and free of charge. We are hopeful that the campaign would be successful like we had in the first phase.

“We urge the media to take the news out there so that people can understand the need to vaccinate their children against the disease. Vaccinated children live healthy and longer,” he said.

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While appreciating WHO and other partners for their support, the Commissioner urged residents to report any health worker who demand money to administer the vaccines.

Also speaking, Dr Adamu Abdul-Nasir, state Coordinator, WHO, congratulated Anambra for exceeding the target and coming out top in the south east in the first phase of the vaccination exercise (OBR-1).

Abdul-Nasir said: “We want to commend the state government for its political will and proactive measures in preventing the polio virus from spreading to the state.

“In this second phase, WHO is supporting the state with logistics and allowances for over 9,000 personnel who will be going to homes, churches, markets, streets and schools to administer the vaccines.

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“We are also supporting hard-to-reach communities to ensure that all eligible children get vaccinated”.

Earlier in her address, Mrs Chisom Uchem, Executive Secretary, ASPHCDA, said the state had taken delivery of over two million doses of the polio vaccine for the OBR-II campaign.

Uchem said the vaccination would start on Saturday, Nov. 11, and end on Nov. 14 in the 21 local government areas of the state.

“In these few days, we will go all out to the nooks and crannies of the state to strengthen and surpass what we recorded in the first phase of the vaccination,” she said.

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