September 30, 2023

Edo Govt Urges Parents To Vaccinates Children Against Poliomyelitis

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…as Edo marks World Patient Safety Day 2023, pub-3120625432113532, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

By Simeon OSAJIE

In its efforts to maintain the fight against poliomyelitis in the society and due to the Edo State government commitment on its enormous support for immunization activities so as to retain wild polio-free since March, 2009, the state government have appealed to parents to ensure their children get vaccinated across the 18 local government areas of the state.

The appeal was given by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samuel Alli on the Outbreak Response (OBR) Campaign to Circulating Variant Polio Virus Type 2 (cVPV2) at a press briefing today, 18th September in Benin City, the State capital.

While revealing that the campaign occurs simultaneously across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State, Dr. Alli disclosed that poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease transmitted through food and water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The disease causes severe weakness or paralysis of the limbs. One (1) in two hundred (200) cases will usually result in irreversible paralysis.

He said the Outbreak Response is sequel to the isolation of circulating variant poliovirus type 2 in some states of the country and the low level of herd immunity to poliovirus type 2 among children under five years of age in the State.

According to Dr. Alli, the circulating variant poliovirus occurs when the weakened strain of the poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) circulates among an under-immunized population for a long time (often over the course of about 12-18 months), and can mutate to cause paralysis.

“In communities with low immunization coverage, the virus can spread from one unvaccinated child to another. An increase in cases these past years is significant and needs to be addressed in order to sustain the poliovirus eradication efforts.

“Worthy of note is that despite the Wild Poliovirus type 1 certification for Africa, the circulating variant poliovirus type 2 remains a threat across Africa and the globe.

“The novel Oral Polio Vaccine, the 2 (nOPB2) will be used for this campaign, it is a modified version of the monovalent Oral Polio Vaccine (mOPV) that has been used in the past years.  It is genetically stable and less likely to be transmitted in the environment.  It provides better immunity in the gut (intestine), where poliovirus replicates.  The novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV2), is available and so, it is critical that this Outbreak Response is of the highest qualify, and every child less than 5 years old in Edo State must be reach and vaccinated,” he said.

Dr. Sam Alli added that the exercise will target children aged 0-59 months, that is, children less than 5 years of age.  Children will be given two drops of the novel oral polio vaccine together with other routine vaccines and supplements that are due.

He said, during the programme, healthcare workers will move from house to house to administer 2 drops of the oral polio vaccine to children.  Other places like churches, mosques, school, crèches, recreational centres, markets, shopping malls, motor parks, and all other strategic places where children below 5 years of age can be found would also be visited.

While stating that it is therefore imperative that Edo State sustains its zero wild poliovirus status by increasing the herd immunity of the “under-fives” through the conduct of a high-quality polio immunization to stop the transmission of the circulating virus, Dr. Alli emphasized that Edo State can keep polio at zero.

According to him, “The best protection against polio disease is through vaccination. Other effective control measures include environmental sanitation, avoidance of open defecation, hand washing with soap and running water, good nutrition and completing the immunization schedule.

“The novel oral polio vaccine is safe, effect, and given free of charge.  It should be stated that repeated administration of this vaccine is not harmful but will improve the overall well-being of our children.”

While urging to stakeholders to report cases of missed children if any, to the health facility near you so that they will be vaccinated, the commissioner emphasized that all hands must be on deck as Edo government want this circulating variant wiped out for good.

He therefore commended the efforts of the National and State Primary Health Care Development Agencies, and various Partners in the State – WHO, UNICEF, AFENET, Date Fi, M-RITE, Heartland Alliance, Sydani Group, for their wonderful collaboration in their collective drive to ensure poliomyelitis remains a thing of the past in Nigeria, and Edo State in particular.

In a related development, Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sam Alli has called on stakeholders (healthcare professionals, policymakers, patient advocacy groups, and the general public) to come together and elevate the voice of patients so as to ensure every patient receives safe and respectful care, every time, everywhere.

He made the call as Edo State joined the rest of the world in commemoration of the World Patient Safety Day (WPSD).

According to Dr. Alli, Patient safety is a fundamental pillar of the Edo State healthcare system as Government recognizes that promoting a culture of patient engagement not only promotes trust and transparency but also significantly contributes to enhancing the safety and quality of healthcare services.

He added that, in alignment with the slogan, and with the objectives of the WPSD, the Edo State Government, under the leadership of the Executive Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, is committed to amplifying the voices of patients and ensuring their active participation in their healthcare decisions through: “enhanced Education that would improve communication between healthcare providers and patients, thus ensuring that patients understand their conditions, treatment options, and potential risks.

“Patient-Centered Healthcare Facilities that prioritizes patient needs and preferences, creating an environment where patients feel comfortable and
confident in participating in their healthcare decisions.

“Feedback Mechanisms and Patient Advocacy that allow patients to voice their concerns, provide feedback, and engage actively in advocating for their safety and the improvement of healthcare services.

“Increase Community Awareness and Involvement on patient rights and encourage dialogue on patient safety.”

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