The Kwara Government on Monday, advised residents to take their children for immunisation against child killer diseases, saying routine immunisation was still ongoing inspite of COVID-19.
Dr Michael Oguntoye, the Director, Primary Health Care System in the state Ministry of Health, gave the advice in Ilorin during a sensitisation meeting on measles campaign.
“All health facilities are open during this period of COVID- 19 and routine immunisation services will be rendered.
“Immunisation is a core health device that should be prioritised for the prevention of communicable disease and safeguarded for continuity during the COVID- 19 pandemic and other pandemics for that matter where feasible, ” he said.
According to him, immunisation delivery strategies may need to be adapted and should be conducted under safe conditions without undue harm to health workers, caregivers and the community.
Oguntoye observed that there was risk of disruption to routine immunisation and other primary Healthcare activities due to the COVID- 19-related burden on the health system.
He added that there was decreased demand for vaccination because of social distancing requirements or community reluctance to visit health facilities for fear of the disease.
Oguntoye warned that disruption of immunisation services, even for brief periods, would result in increased numbers of susceptible individuals and raise the likelihood of outbreaks prone vaccine preventable disease (VPD) such as measles.
He noted that such outbreaks due to low vaccine uptake might result in increased rate of illnesses and deaths, especially among young infants and other vulnerable groups.
“As a result, the Kwara government in conjunction with UNICEF is creating awareness among the population that immunisation and other Primary Health Care (PHC) services are still available in our centres and other health care facilities,” he said.
Oguntoye said the health facilities in the state were already positioned to provide immunisation and other PHC services to clients in environments that were safe for both the health workers and clients.
Also speaking at the meeting, Dr Marion Adekeye, the State Nutrition Officer, Kwara State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, explained that Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) were those that could be prevented by immunisation.
She listed some of these child killer diseases to include Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Haemophilus and Influenza among others.
Adekeye blamed those who got afflicted or died from the diseases on the inaction of parents to ensure they were immunised.
According to the expert , refusing immunisation destroys lives as this might result in incidence of abandoned children or disability.
Dr Dupe Shittu, the Social Mobilisation Officer for Kwara State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said health facilities in the state were in optimal condition.