The United Nations Children Funds UNICEF says Measles outbreak has killed 13 children in Borno State.
This was contained in a statement by a Communication Specialist with UNICEF, Eva Hinds. The statement said the Nigeria 2017 Demographic Health Survey revealed that only 65 per cent of eligible Nigerian children received their first dose of measles vaccine.
Hinds lamented that in Borno State, because of low coverage, 13 children were killed in the current measles outbreak.
The statement said in order to tackle the growing cases of measles, the Federal Government was working in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO to tackle the ailment.
The statement partly read, “Following a growing number of reported cases of measles, the Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organization will conduct a vaccination campaign in Borno to protect 1.7 million children, aged six months to 10 years, against measles.”
The statement said the campaign would run from March 21 to March 25, 2019.
The statement quoted the Director of Disease Control in the Borno State Primary Health Care Agency, Babagana Adiso, as saying “immunization remains one of the most effective ways of protecting children” from killer diseases.
He said, “This campaign gives us the opportunity to protect the lives of children at risk of missing out on routine immunization in Borno.”
UNICEF insisted that routine vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns, remained a key public health strategy to reduce measles deaths.
“UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Nigeria to reach every child with the measles vaccine. I, therefore, urge everyone to ensure that all eligible children access the vaccine during the campaign period,” UNICEF Borno Chief of Field Office, Geoffrey Ijumba, was quoted to have said.
The statement said measles vaccine would be administered free-of-charge in all mosques, villages, IDP camps and health facilities, targeting all children under the age of 10 in high-risk areas of Borno, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status or history of disease.
Also, the Borno State Coordinator of WHO, Dr Audu Idowu, was quoted to have said that despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, “Nigeria accounts for the highest burden of measles globally, with 3.3 million unimmunized children.”