Cross River State Moves to Check Measles Outbreak

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Cross River State Government has made arrangements to check possible measles outbreak as it plans vaccinate more than 700,000 Children in the State.

The Director General of the State’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong stated this at a one-day media orientation meeting in Cross River State, southern Nigeria.

On a proposed integrated measles vaccination campaign in Cross River state, he said that the vaccination has been rescheduled to begin on Thursday, 27th October, to enable health workers to reach children across the state.

Swift response

Ekpenyong explained that the decision to act was a sequel to a recent outbreak of the viral disease at the refugee camp in Ogoja, where medical practitioners reported 35 cases of measles amongst the children population.

“Unfortunately, due to the crisis in the southern Republic of Cameroon, we sadly cannot stop the people from seeking refuge in Cross River State and Nigeria. We are a very hospitable people in Cross River and because of the situation there, we see many of them running into Nigeria.

“If you must know, we have been working with the United Nations Refugee Commission, UNHCR, and WHO alongside the hard-working health teams stationed at the various borders. Before the refugees come in, we conduct health screening and obtain their medical history to ensure that everyone coming into Nigeria from the Republic of Cameroon as an adult is vaccinated against COVID-19 and that the children have received the routine immunization vaccines.

 “For any, we discovered may have missed out, we use that opportunity to vaccinate them – the adults for Covid-19 and the children, routine immunization vaccines; and that was exactly how we discovered 35 children with measles. We instantly swung into action and got them treated and vaccinated. Again, fortunately, there was no fatality and all 35 children are doing just fine,” she stated.

She hinted the agency would be adopting fixed posts, door-to-door vaccination, and setting up temporarily fixed posts to reach the number of children targeted for the campaign.

 According to her, “it is our mandate as a government to ensure that we protect our citizens; providing for their quality health services and whatever health intervention requires to stay healthy and that is why Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade tries as much as possible to ensure that whatever health interventions we have to get to every eligible child.”

 Supporting vaccination

In a remark, the WHO coordinator for Cross River State, Dr. Ibrahim Salisu urged parents to take advantage of the opportunity and vaccinate their children against the deadly, but preventable diseases.

He noted, “we always have this issue of some parents not wanting to get their children vaccinated, but the sensitisation that we do through our teams in the communities will facilitate the uptake of these vaccines.”

The State Immunisation Officer, Mrs. Joy Chabo highlighted the negative impact of measles on children including deafness and blindness, saying “we are conducting an integrated campaign because routine immunisation would continue alongside measles and Covid vaccinations.”

The event featured goodwill messages from the representatives of CTG Global, an affiliate of UNICEF, Dr. Ugochi Eyong, and African Epidemiologic Network (AFENET), Dr. Anastasia Isika amongst others.


Dominica Nwabufo


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