We’ll support Kano’s primary healthcare- UNICEF

File photo. Immunization in Kano

*As Governor Yusuf flags-off immunization of 3.9 million children in Kano

By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh/Kano

Kano state Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, on Saturday, flagged- off the April 2024 Polio immunization programme  (nOPV2) at Ungogo Local Government Area,  expressing optimism that Kano will reach its target of immunizing about 3.9 million children during the exercise across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.

One of the government’s partners in the programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), pledged to give the state government all the necessary support to even surpass the target.

Governor Yusuf was represented by the state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf.

He appealed to parents of under-five-year-old children in the state to make their children available for immunization, insisting that the routine immunization will eradicate polio from the state with the full cooperation of parents.

According to him, the state government has provided all materials and logistics to ensure that the immunization exercise becomes a success across the 44 Local Government Areas in the state.

Governor Yusuf further directed Local Council chairmen, and religious and traditional rulers to play their part through mobilizing and directing parents to cooperate with the government by providing their children with the immunization exercise.

Our Correspondent reports that residents of Ungogo local government Area embraced the immunization exercise as they trooped out en masse to get their children immunized.

Earlier before the flag-off, UNICEF  had maintained that boosting routine immunization would eradicate polio and other childhood killer diseases in Nigeria.

The Officer–charge of UNICEF Kano Field office,  Mr Micheal Banda, told journalists,  during a media briefing and orientation on the polio campaign organized by UNICEF in collaboration with the Kano State Primary Healthcare Development Agency that eradicating polio is a task very possible.

He added that UNICEF was prepared to give full support to the Kano state government to ensure the total eradication of polio in the state, through routine immunization.

According to him, strengthening the system and making routine polio immunization a top priority is critical to child survival, as such there was an urgent need for relevant stakeholders to collaborate and ensure that children below 5 years receive all vaccines.

Mr Micheal described media as partners in progress that are crucial in managing misinformation about vaccines to promote uptake for immunity against childhood killer diseases.

“UNICEF would continue to support the primary healthcare system to ensure there’s at least one functional PHC in each LGA in Kano, Katsina and the country at large,” he added.

The Director General of Kano State Primary Healthcare Management Agency, Muhammad Mahmoud pointed out that, the Kano state government KNSG has put modalities in place to ensure success as it has commenced a polio vaccine campaign in some selected areas.

He emphasized the need for public education and enlightenment, attributing the low immunization coverage in the last few years and non-functional primary healthcare centres as some of the major catalysts to the current situation.

“Currently in Kano, there is a global mission presence to curtail the situation and KNSG would provide all the necessary support to achieve the desired objectives “

In his presentation titled: Polio Outbreak How Can we Ethically Engage with Affected Communities” the Social and Behaviour Change Specialist, UNICEF Kano field office Ogu Enemaku identified feedback and complaints, evidence-based advocacy and decision-making as some of the key elements of accountability to affected persons.

The state epidemiologist Dr. Shehu Abdullahi stressed that the polio virus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis within hours, saying that, it can be transmitted from one person to another mainly through the faecal-oral routine or less frequently contaminated water or food.