Provide vaccine against measles outbreak, NMA tells FG
The Nigeria Medical Association has called on the Federal Government to provide vaccination against measles and to expand the coverage of vaccination in order to prevent a possible outbreak of the disease in Nigeria.
The National Centre for Disease Control said in its weekly report on the management of diseases in the country that about 446 suspected cases of measles with one death were recorded in 133 council areas in 27 states, yet none was confirmed via laboratory tests and no death was recorded.
It said that the National Measles Technical Working Group closely monitored surveillance data and response activities across the country and it reviewed the measles guideline.
The NCDC added that it would continue with the review of measles surveillance data across the country.
In an interview with our correspondent, the President of the NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile, called on the Federal Government to intensify measures to prevent outbreaks of measles and other diseases in states where some cases were recorded lately.
he said, “Measles is a disease that can be controlled by immunisation. To tackle the disease, we have to improve on our immunisation coverage. We have always stated the importance of having a stable primary health care management.
“We need to also ensure that it is functional. If the primary health care system is functional and our children are immunised appropriately, most of these cases will be taken care of. The national immunisation day represents a fire brigade approach and this is an area where government should look into.”
A national survey had put vaccination coverage of measles at 41.8 per cent between 2016 and 2017. According to Faduyile, to expand the coverage of immunisation to areas where there is insecurity, the Federal Government must draft security operatives to work with immunisation officers and provide security to enable them to carry out vaccination in areas affected by insurgency.
he said, “We need to start providing security for immunisation officers so that they can reach out to children and people in the areas where there is insurgency. Community mobilisation is equally important. If the communities are made aware of the importance of immunisation and the implication of not having it, they will find a way to get immunised.
“The problem is that nothing has been done to make the system work seamlessly. That is why we said that the primary health care system should be strengthened. Once we achieve that, there won’t be outbreaks of diseases and reported cases any longer.”