Cross River state govt targets 900,000 children for immunization against polio

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By George Odok

Calabar, May 14, 2022 The Cross River Government on Saturday says the state is targeting over 900,000 children for immunization against polio to curb the disease in the state.

Dr Linda Ayade, wife of the state governor, at the inaugural ceremony of the immunization against polio in Calabar, said it is crucial to the survival of children against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Ayade, who was represented by Dr Janet Ekpenyong, Director-General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said that the state is targeting over 900,000 children for the exercise.

According to her, the state has inaugurated the second outbreak response meant to eradicate polio Virus Type2 amongst children and reduce childhood disease.

She explained that the children, aged between 0 and five years, would be administered two drops of the novel polio vaccine Type2 alongside other antigens that were due.

Ayade said that the state government would continue to allocate more resources to ensure a seamless campaign, thereby, urging parents and caregivers to ensure that their children are immunized against polio.

“Today, we are flagging off the outbreak response campaign against the dreaded type two polio virus.

“In this particular campaign, we are targeting children between the ages of 0 and five years.

“This is because we want to ensure that Cross River does not record any case of polio.

“The outbreak response campaign affords us the opportunity to ensure that health workers reach out to children in hard-to-reach areas across the state.

“We are hoping to vaccinate over 900,000 children and we believe that this will afford us the opportunity to ensure that every child is protected against the virus,” she said.

She said that one of the reasons for the outbreak response was the re-emergence of type2 polio in other parts of the country.

“Recently, Nigeria was declared polio-free and all the three types of polio were no longer in Nigeria.

“However, the type2 virus has re-emerged in some states and that is why the outbreak response was introduced to see that we curb the spread.

“In Cross River, we do not have any case of polio and we hope to sustain the status in the state by ensuring that every child is protected against the virus.

“We have also done border synchronization with neighboring countries to ensure that those who are closed to our borders are also vaccinated.

“So, in this particular campaign, children who are on the other side that is close to our borders will also be vaccinated.

“These are measures to ensure that we do not have those diseases crossing into our state,” she said.

The governor`s wife described Polio as a highly infectious disease that affects the nervous system of the body, adding that the state would not take the disease for granted.

Speaking, Dr Iwara Iwara, Director, Public Health, Cross River Ministry of Health, commended the state government for the will to support immunization in the state.

Also, Mrs Joy Chabo, the Director of Immunization and Disease Control of the state`s Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said it is imperative to note that polio mainly affects children under five years of age.

Mrs Emem Akan, who spoke on behalf of the mothers who brought their children for the exercise, thanked the state government for the development and the provision offered to them.

Akan added that the effort would help their children grow in good health