Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board has introduced meningitis vaccine into the immunization routine schedule, to protect children from the disease which kills a child within 24 hours of contact.
Permanent Secretary of the Board, Dr Agriye Harry, who stated this during a media stakeholder meeting to flag off the introduction of meningitis vaccine in the state, said the vaccine is for children within nine months to 15 months of age.
Dr Harry, who was represented by the Director Community Health Services, Dr Isaac Opurum, stressed that the disease is preventable if children are vaccinated early.
“The vaccine is free and protects Children from having meningitis, which is one of the deadly diseases that attack and kill children. We call on mothers, caregivers to take their children to the nearest health facilities closest to them and vaccinate their children. It is very important that our children are giving the right to live.”
Also speaking, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, State Coordinator, Dr Imoh Ukpong, said federal government decided to introduce the meningitis vaccine to save children across all the states of the federation.
“All over Nigeria starting from today Meningitis vaccine will be accessible to all children, there is something called meningitis belt which simply are areas where people easily fall to the deadly disease, about 25 states in Nigeria falls into that belt. If you Look at 25 out of 36 states, it shows lots of states are involved, that is why the federal government decided to introduce the vaccine to Nigerian children.”
On his part, State Immunization Officer, DR URANG JOSEPH, said there is a spreading movement of the disease, adding that Children need to be protected early from meningitis which is communicable, adding that there is a great need to Protect Children from the disease before the state and country begin to record high mortality rate.
He said further that the disease is caused by an organism which is responsible for the meningitis outbreaks especially the last outbreak that occurred in December 2016 to May 2017 that recorded over fourteen thousand people affected and majority where children, stressing the disease will soon get to Rivers State since it’s a communicable disease.
Our reporter Tina Amanda gathered that the meningitis vaccine would kick off from 19th August, in all health facilities in the local government areas.