by Rachel Ogbu
The Imo State Immunisation Officer, Ministry of Health, Adolphus Okoro has urged parents and guardians to take their children and wards to the nearest health facilities, nursery schools, churches, mosques and other outreach centres for immunisation against measles following the death of six children in Ohaji-Egbema, Oguta, Oru West and Oru East local government areas of the state.
The immunisation beginning Saturday November 2 is an immediate effort to prevent further deaths during the said outbreak affecting mostly children under five .
“To this end, the state Ministry of Health has started training chief mobilisation officers of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, and health education officers in the 27 local government areas of the state,” Okoro said.
Okoro also reassured the people that government had already secured vaccines at the newly constructed cold store in Government House, Owerri, against loss of potency.
He believed the disease could be tackled with a joint effort from parents and guardians and thanked donor agencies who brought in more vaccines to foster the immunisation exercise in Imo State.
As it stands the traditional measles vaccine requires two injections to for full immunity against the disease. A child between 9 to 12 months receives one dose and another later in childhood.
But in recent times, researchers in Washington successfully developed a measles vaccine that can be inhaled. It is unclear what method the Imo State government will choose to use during the outbreak.