• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kano residents demand social amenities as condition for accepting polio vaccine

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The continued rejection of polio vaccines by a sizeable number of households which has been cited as one of the factors obstructing the ongoing global efforts to end the transmission of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the northern part of the country is yet to fully abate.

Some households who responded to enquirers during the September round of IPD, said that the rejection of the vaccines would only stop when governments of the affected states, begin to address the dominant developmental needs of the rural communities, where the transmissions are still on.

This was the summary of the findings of BusinessDay, at Kura Local Government Area of Kano state, one of the localities where polio vaccine is still not fully accepted.

According to the latest statistics obtained from Kano office of World Health organisation (WHO), pockets of rejection of polio vaccine are still being observed in the state.

According to Shehu Umar, a father of 10 children and one of the respondents interviewed, the road linking the local government headquarters to many of the villages were in dilapidated conditions, a situation which the state government needs to address before people in his area will fully embrace the polio eradication project.

Umar disclosed that those rejecting the vaccine do not believe government is genuine in its quest to help them, as giving polio vaccine to children in his locality is not what the people need most presently.

Umar, who spoke in his native Hausa language, said that rather than meeting what they termed as the basic needs of the people, the state government was only sending teams of vaccinators on a monthly basis to “forcefully” immunise their children.

“This is being forced on us, and I want to go around Kura, and ask our people if they are interested in having their children vaccinated. Our major problem here is not polio, it is about how to get fertiliser, and good roads.

“Government should do the first thing first by first putting in place what will make life worth living in our villages, and see if rejection will not stop.

“What we were earlier told by some people in government was that the vaccines prevent childbearing at a later stage in one’s life and this will be difficult to erase in the minds of our people,” he stated.

Responding also in the same vein, Sani Bala Kura, a petty trader in Kura Market, pointed out that most people in the villages in the LGA lack access to basic healthcare, and wonder why the emphasis is on polio eradication.

Kura further noted that despite the fact that his LGA is close to the state capital, most of the health centres in the areas still lack qualified medical personnel and facilities.

He explained that in some villages with health centres, people still travel a long distance on dilapidated roads in the area to access the health facilities while conveying patients there for treatment.

Kura called the state government to address the issue of social amenities in the area which will assist in the mobilisation of people in the area in the campaign to end polio in the state.

“I want to assure you that by the time government is serious with this issue of social amenities most of the households resisting the vaccines will on their own become vanguards of the scheme.

Despite the situation at hand, BusinessDay, however, observed that most households in the LGA have accepted the global eradication programme, by making their children and wards who are between 0-5 years available during the IPD.

Adeola Ajakaiye