Cross River primary healthcare To Vaccinate 900,000 Children Against Wild Poliomyelitis Type 2, As Obol Lopon of Ugep Flag-Off Campaign
Over 900,000 children between the ages of 0-59 months in Cross River State are set to be vaccinated against Poliomyelitis, one of the deadliest disease in the history of mankind as the Obol Opol of Ugep flagg of exercise in his palace at Yakurr Local Government Area of the state.
For Dr Janet Ekpenyong Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, it was not just an epoch making event but historic because according to her , “the role of the traditional rulers can never be over emphasized especially in delivering quality and productive Healthcare to citizens”.
She employed parents and caregivers to protect the lives of the next generation by granting them the opportunity to get vaccinated within the stipulated time citing example with the Obol Opol who has often led in the mobilization of children within his Community for similar exercises.
She said, immunization is a right of a child and the child should not be deprived. She also chipped that the state government with support from partner agencies have mapped out strategies to get all children vaccinated irrespective of weather conditions, topographical challenges as well as other surmountable barriers which hindered accessibility and 100% coverage in the time past.
Dr Ekpenyong said, with the commitment of health workers with compelling voices from strategic leaders like the Traditional Rulers council, Religious leaders, Government functionaries, Youths and Women leaders, the state has remained Poliomyelitis free despite panicking figures from some states of the federation.
According to her, with the devastating effects of the Disease to children within 0-59 months which includes economic, psychological and general well-being, all hands must be on deck for continuous and non stop advocacies and sensitization in churches, schools , markets and other places of public gathering .
She appreciates the efforts of His Royal Majesty, the Obol Opol of Ugep in identifying with the health sector as his continuous advocacies has led to the advancement of the health sector in Yakurr Local Government Area as well as the state at large.
“Today, we are officially flagging off the First round of the Outbreak Response on Poliomyelitis for our children between the ages of 0-59 months because they are the most vulnerable because of the level of their immunity.
Because of the Outbreak of the type 2 Poliomyelitis, the Federal and state governments embarked on this response to ensure that child mortality rate is lowered as this disease has a ripple effect on the socio, economic and general well-being of affected families.
So far in Cross River State, no record of Poliomyelitis 2 variant has been recorded, this is due to the collective efforts of all stakeholders including the traditional, religious and political leaders who are determined to see a healthier Cross River State”. The choice of flag off at the palace of the Obol Lopon is because the role of the traditional institution in the promotion of health activities cannot be over emphasized, and the Obol lopon has always been a voice and a champion of vaccination.
The Obol Opol of Ugep, His Royal Majesty, Ofem Ubana Eteng and host of the event was excited that exercise of such magnitude is being decentralized to encourage participation and give a sense of belonging to all Communities in the state.
He pledged his support towards raising awareness on the Outbreak Response on Poliomyelitis and other health interventions in order to compliment the efforts of the state government and health workers who work tirelessly for the outright elimination of all vaccine preventable diseases.
On his part, the Director Public Health, State Ministry of Health, Dr Iwara Iwara, reiterated Government’s commitment to eradicating vaccine preventable diseases and encouraged the mothers to ensure their children are vaccinated as it is the responsibility of the parents to protect their children.
The Director Disease Control and Immunization and state Immunization Officer applauded the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency for showing commitment in reaching out to all children across the state irrespective of where they are and emphasized in the importance of Immunization and asked care givers to use this opportunity to ensure their children get all the complete routine immunization .
Other speakers who spoke include the representative of the World Health Organization Dr Pella of WHO, UNICEF National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, where they pledged their continued support to Cross River State Government and encouraged Mothers and caregivers to utilize this opportunity for good.
Some parents who spoke testified to the commitment of health workers in their various Communities as they expressed their gratitude to the state government and it’s partners for introducing the high impact intervention.
High point of the event was the oral adminstration of the Vaccine to children at the venue, Covid-19 vaccination for adults and the distribution of health packs to pregnant and nursing mothers.
The exercise which began on the 9th of April is expected to officially climax on the 12th of April with two additional days for the sorting of missed children in the community as health workers are expected to move from house to House, schools, churches , markets places , some temporary post as well as permanent health facilities.