Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has stressed the need for regular and timely immunisation of new born babies in order to avert preventable diseases and secure their future.
Oshiomhole, who was accompanied by his wife Iara, gave the admonition while flagging off the first round of the 2016 National Immunisation Plus Days, NIPDs, in Benin City, the Edo State capital, Southern Nigeria.
The Governor appreciated the efforts of development partners and representatives of the Nigerian Government, the World Health Organisation for encouraging and sustaining the programme.
“I am happy to observe that since I assumed office in 2008, there has been no reported case of polio in Edo State. I like to claim that credit because our people need to know that when the past government was here, we had polio, and under this new government, we have no polio”, said Oshiomhole.
The Governor passionately appealed to mothers to take advantage of the exercise and present their children to be immunised.
“I want to join those who have spoken to appeal to our mothers, and indeed fathers, to ensure that they do everything possible to take advantage of this exercise. To make it a habit once a baby is born, at the appropriate time, parents should ensure the child is immunised, so that we can avoid vaccine-preventable diseases,” Oshiomhole appealed.
“We will continue to sustain our commitment to provide free medical care to our children under the age of 5. The future of Nigeria demands that we have healthy citizens. Whether we are building schools, roads or hospitals, we need healthy children who will grow up to be responsible adults to benefit from infrastructure we are building,” he added.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aihanuwa Eregie said that the National Immunisation Plus Days was intended to consolidate on the gains so far made in the collective drive to eradicate polio.
Eregie said that at the last NIPDs held in 2015, the State recorded 93 percent oral polio coverage and this year, “we have achieved 83 percent coverage for routine immunisation. It is also on record that the country has not recorded any case of the wild polio virus since July, 2014; and Nigeria has since been removed from the list of countries endemic for polio”.
According to her, Nigeria needs to achieve the polio free certification, which requires that the exercise should focus more on “the missed children” in the every community.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to our parents, caregivers and mothers to embrace this programme by ensuring that all children aged 0 – 59 months old are immunized. This is because the continuous increase in the number of unimmunized children will predispose the State to an outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases,” She added.