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LASG kicks-off COVID-19 Scale 0.3 to ramp-up over 25% vaccinated population record

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…Calls on residents for responsiveness to take advantage

By Moses Adeniyi

Lagos State Government (LASG) has flagged off the COVID-19 Scales 0.3 Vaccination Campaign aimed at ramping up the records of the 25 per cent profile of its population who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

With the support of the Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), for provisions of vaccines, the State Government called on citizens to avail themselves of the opportunity to safeguard themselves.

Lagos remain the epicentre of the pandemic since its inception in the Country in February 2020.

At the flagg-off ceremony, at Ikeja the State Capital, the State’s Commissioner for Health, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Ibrahim Akinwummi Mustapha, said the Scales 0.3 was developed in collaboration with the national body “to further ramp-up COVID-19 vaccination coverage across Lagos State.

“This is meant to be a three month can-do strategy that will accelerate COVID-19 vaccination in the state and will focus on the integrated efforts of the State’s work plans,” he said.

According to him, it would build on “lessons learnt, challenges and recommendations for State specific engagements to address the identified implementation gap of Scales 0.2 and promptly promote accountability for performance.”

He said while the Scales 0.2 was of benefit that vitalised routine immunisation process in the State, the Scales 0.3 would build on the feat.

According to him, those who are yet to have any of the dose, 1st, 2nd, and boolster – can come forth for same, while stating that those who their last bolster dose was four months ago can also now take a second bolster dose.

“You can come for a second bolster dose if your last bolster dose was four months ago,” he said.

“At the core of this campaign, we need to strengthen vaccine equity to ensure that every resident of Lagos State has a fair and equal chance to fully access the vaccine, regardless of who they are and where they are from, which is key to seeing the unbearable impact of COVID-19 pandemic reduced to the minimum,” he said.

He disclosed that mobile teams would be engaged to get to residents that may not have the opportunity to visit the fixed post for their vaccinations.

He called for the support of all stakeholders, particularly at the grassroots to put hands on deck to encourage eligible residents above 18 years “to get themselves vaccinated.”

He however, disclosed residents from 12 years above can seek to be vaccinated with conditions that they have a valid evidence of travelling abroad for schooling with admission letter.

Acknowledging that Lagos remains the epicentre of the pandemic since the 27th February 2020 when it was first discovered in Nigeria, he said to mitigate the scourge of the virus, several strategies instituted including lockdown, increased rate of PCR testing capacity, identification of strains of the virus, improvement of provision of medical oxygen across the state, expansion of isolation capacity, have proven their potency in managing the virus.

According to him, from 15th of March 2021 when vaccination campaign started in the state, to 9th of August 2022, the state has vaccinated a total of 2,022,523 persons for the first dose (representing 25.2 per cent of the population); 1,587,554 vaccinated with second dose (19.6 per cent of the target); 141,855 vaccinated with bolster doses.

“With the full understanding that substantial proportion of our population must be vaccinated to reduce the impact of the ongoing wave of the COVID-19 virus, and prevent the real emergency of catastrophic events which have been witnessed during the previous waves, the State has developed robust vaccination strategy leveraging on both the strength of public-private partnership,” he said.

According to him, the significance of mustering efforts on vaccination is informed by the need to avoid a breakdown of the economy

“One of the major driving force we have in the development of our strategy is the protection of our economy. We don’t want, at any time,  the economy to be closed down for anything. We intend for the economy to continue to open for business. That has been our focus in Lagos,” he said.

He appreciated all partners, reassuring that “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and present the best option for eradicating the pandemic as of now.”

On monkey pox, which 27th July, 2022, was declared a disease of public health emergency of international concern, he said the state has taken a lot of proactive measures by training disease surveillance officers across the State for prompt testing of suspected cases of money pox and has adequately made funds available for the purpose.

He said with the nature of the transmission of the virus which can’t be prevented by washing of hands and sanitizer, it was only important for people to avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have rash and ensure cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently touched.

Representing the World Health Organisation (WHO), Lawal Sherifat, the COVID-19 Vaccination Coordination and RI Focal Person said though Lagos has reached a remarkable stretch of covering over 25 per cent of her population, more are needed to be done to ramp-up the number.

According to her, the WHO will always be available to give support to the state as partners for the process.

Representing Red Cross, the Branch Secretary, Lagos State, Olakunle Azeez, said the organisation would embark on jingles from August to December, with volunteers doing campaigns at market and campuses, for mobilisation to get more Lagosians vaccinated.

He said though such efforts have been replicated nationwide, the record of the turnout in Lagos was positive and applauded with good cooperation, against the record in other states.

The Country Director, USAID funded MRITE, Dr. Yakubu Cherima, said Lagos State has done considerably well in terms of COVID-19 vaccinations with a record of 25 per cent, against other States some of which have records below five per cent.

He called for more responsibility pledging the support of his organisation to achieve the goals.

The Baale of Marine Beach, who is the Chairman for grassroots mobilisation committee for COVID-19 vaccination in Lagos, Chief Dr. Joseph Omobolanle, said the mobilisation committee would use  ‘all might’ to ensure sensitisation goes around all  Lagos.

Assuring ‘mobilisation of no comparison’ above past records, he said the Committee members are resolute to work day and night, promising “our unflinching support is pledged.”

Health

UNICEF emphasises importance of polio vaccination to caregivers

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has encouraged caregivers in Katsina, Kano and Jigawa States to present their eligible children for the next round of polio vaccination exercise.

Mr Michael Banda, the Officer-in-charge of UNICEF Kano Field Office, made the call in Kano at a media dialogue on the polio campaign on Friday.

The media dialogue was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Kano State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, with participants from the above-mentioned states.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four-day polio vaccination exercise is scheduled to commence on April 20, across the three states.

According to the UNICEF Officer-in-charge of the Kano field office, the importance of the exercise cannot be overemphasised.

“As the data show, in Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, we have over 556,750 children who have not received one single dose of vaccination they should have received.

“These are referred to as zero-dose children. Such children inexorably are vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, including poliomyelitis.

“This is unacceptable and must be tackled frontally. Not only is polio vaccination crucial, but all routine vaccinations are also critical to children’s survival.

“We must all work together to strengthen routine immunisation services and ensure that all children under five receive all vaccines, including the polio vaccine,” Banda said.

He added that, if all children got vaccinated and receive the vaccines they needed to receive, they would no longer be at risk of contracting polio, with attendant debilitating consequences.

He said that, rather they would have received the immunity which would protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Banda emphasised that immunisation had been proven to be the most cost-effective protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Let’s all work together, government, development partners, religious and traditional leaders, communities, NGOs, CSOs and the media, to ensure that every Nigerian child under five is vaccinated.

“This will protect them from not just polio, but all other vaccine-preventable diseases,” he appealed.

According to the UNICEF official, managing misinformation and vaccine hesitancy for Polio and overall vaccination is very crucial in Nigeria to stop the outbreak.

He stressed that the role of the media, including social media, was important in this aspect.

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Health

Over 1,800 malnourished kids recovered in six months in Bauchi — CSOs

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Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

The Coalition of Civil Society –Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Bauchi State Chapter has said that through its partnership with other implementing partners they have assisted over 1,800 malnourished children to recover from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

The Secretary of the Network, Dabis Mwalike while addressing journalists as part of the activities marking the 10th year anniversary of the network, said that it also engaged in preventive measures against malnutrition in the state.

According to her, during the implementation, 698 healthcare providers were trained across the 20 local government areas of Bauchi, 400 community-based volunteers were trained while 4,229 comprising 2,059 males and 2,170 females, children under five identified with SAM and 7,743 made of 3661males and 4082 females, children under five identified with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM).

She added that 1,825 children under five identified with SAM and MAM recovered. While 202 PHCs established food banks.

She said that despite all the achievements, malnutrition remains a concern to public health and a threat to child survival, growth, and development in the country, and Bauchi State according to NNHS (2018) and NDHS (2018) the State stunting rate is 46 percent, wasting is 9.5 percent while underweight is 28.2 percent and overweight is 0.5 percent.

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Health

Capacity training will reduce migration of health workers- NPHCDA

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The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it is taking steps towards tackling migration of health workers through capacity training programmes.
Mr Julius Idoko, NPHCDA Coordinator in Cross River, said this at the opening of a five-day capacity training for 100 frontline healthcare workers in the state on Tuesday.
Idoko said that the training, a project of the Health Minister, Prof. Mohammad Pate, was aimed at improving the capacity of health workers and making migration out of the country less attractive.
”The rate at which health workers leave the country has become worrisome, this training is to build their capacities.
”This initiative is one of the steps we are taking to curb the continuous exodus of healthcare professionals from the country.
”If we continue to engage and improve the capacity of our health workers, there will be no reason for them to leave the country,” he said.
The cordinator said that the initiative targets to capture no fewer than 120,000 healthcare workers in public institutions across the country.
Also speaking, Dr Henry Ayuk, Cross River’s Commissioner for Health, described the training as ‘very important’ to the state following its peculiar challenges.
He said the training would strengthen the skills of healthcare workers and enhance their performances.
Ayuk said that the state government would equip no fewer then 450 primary health centres within the next one year to enhance healthcare delivery.
Dr Vivian Otu, Director-General, Cross Rivers Primary Healthcare Development Agency, commended NPHCDA for the initiative, describing it as timely and well-intended
He said thet those who benefited from the exercise would train others to ensure an active and efficient workforce.
The programme attracted participants from WHO, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, President’s Malaria Initiative among others
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