Abia flags off rotavirus vaccination to protect children against diarrhoea

Abia Primary Health Care Development Agency (ABPHCDA), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) have flagged off rotavirus vaccination in the state.

The flag-off, which took place Tuesday at Eziama, headquarters of Aba North Local Government Area, is expected to continue in the 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State, from November 22-29, 2022.

Rotavirus, according to experts, spreads easily among infants and young children and can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain, and dehydrating those who contracted it.

Ude Oko-Chukwu, deputy governor of Abia State, stated that the state government is serious about the routine virus process and urged all those involved to see it as a matter of urgency.

Oko-Chukwu, represented by Charles Esonu, commissioner for Youth Development, urged parents to help save their children by getting them vaccinated, stressing that good health of the children is important to the government.

Abia State Commissioner for Health, Joe Osuji said that his ministry will give everything necessary to ensure that the vaccination is successful.

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The commissioner, who was represented by Franca Ekwueme, permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, urged parents to make their children available for vaccination to reduce death among them.

She described rotavirus as a contagious virus that makes life difficult for children, but can only be prevented through vaccination.

She explained that the Federal Government introduced the vaccine so that it will be administered to children at six weeks, ten weeks and fourteen weeks, to reduce the death caused by the virus among children under two years old.

Bala Nasiru, Abia State coordinator of WHO, described the flag-off of the vaccination as timely and urged all parents and health workers to be ambassadors of the vaccination and spread the message.

He thanked the Abia State government for taking the vaccination process seriously and making the moves necessary to begin the vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director and chief executive officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), expressed happiness in working with the Abia State government on health issues.

Shuaib, who was represented by Lami Lebechukwu, commended the Abia State government for its support to health-related issues and expressed joy that the deadly rotavirus has been added to routine immunization given to Nigerian children.

“I urge Abia to pay attention to their routine immunization. We want to catch up with other countries of the world and we want to achieve the vaccination of many of our children by August, 2023. I wish to plead with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to be serious with routine immunization. Let the government encourage women and children to come and access the vaccine”, she pleaded.

Chinagozi Adindu, executive secretary, Abia Primary Health Care Development Agency (ABPHCDA), stated that the state has 919 immunization sites and about 187 thousand doses of the vaccine and charged all parents to take advantage of them and make their children available for vaccination.