800,000 die of measles annually’ – UNICEF

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Ondo state government in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF) have concluded plans to immunise over 700,000 children between nine months and five years.

The first phase of the exercise will come up between March 8 and 13 in 10 local government areas of the state.

Children in the other eight local government areas would have their own immunisation between March 15 and 20 as second phase.

Speaking at the media sensitisation meeting for measles vaccination campaign held in Akure,the state capital,the Secretary, Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Board(OSPHCDB) Dr Francis Akanbiemu said government had released N30m for the exercise.

Akanbiemu who described measles as one of the deadly diseases, USAID over 800,000 children were being killed annually across the world by the disease.

He however said it is a Vaccine Preventable Disease (VPD).

The state commissioner for Health,Dr Wahab Adegbenro said”we need to sensitise our people on how to combat the disease,we are just getting over the lassa fever,which claimed some lives in the state,we are doing our best to confront measles.

Adegbenro said the state government had reactivated a burial law through which government must be notified on all burials in the state to enable medical experts identify the cause of the death to prevent spread of such virus.

He said the burial law had been in existence but passive,adding that the state government had reactivated it with mandate to security agencies to prosecute its violators.

Commissioner for Information and Orientation,Yemi Olowolabi expressed the need for sensitisation of mothers and the public on the campaign.

He urged the media to give free jingles and write-up to the organisers of the immunisation as part of their social responsibility.

The commissioner said everything must be done to prevent the re-occurence of last November scare,which forced many parents to hurriedly withdraw their wards from schools as a result of rumours on fake vaccination alleged to be applied on pupils by some soldiers.

Many medical experts especially on Public Health including UNICEF Consultant,Haizatu Zango spoke on how to prevent measles.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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