• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Oyo moves against measles outbreak


Last week, there was confirmed outbreak of measles in Sabo, Mokola area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, with 32 suspected cases identified by health officials. The disease, which broke out in the area, has already claimed one life.

With the identified cases, the health officials in the Oyo State Ministry of Health, World Health  Organisation(WH0), University College Hospital(UCH) and other development partners had to swiftly intervene in the measles outbreak.

Within a week of stepping into the matter, the suspected cases are now being managed by health personnel at the Primary Health Care Centre within the community.    

Speaking on the development, Taiwo Ladopo, the ministry’s acting director, Public Health, a medical doctor, said that the ministry was first notified of the outbreak on January 11, which prompted the development partners, including the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, to move into the area the following day for proper investigation and intervention.

He, however, blamed the only confirmed death on the failure of the parents to seek medical attention when they noticed the child’s condition.

“At the time of the visit, only a case of death was confirmed by a woman in the community and that the child died at home without the parents seeking medical attention,” Oladipo said.

He further stated that during the visit, several children were noticed to have symptoms suggestive of measles and as such blood samples were taken from five children and sent for laboratory confirmation at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Lagos.

According to him, “In collaboration with Ibadan North Local Government Area, the ministry and partners commenced community outreaches for prevention and management of measles at Sabo on January 14, with additional health awareness campaign through the media.”

He called on members of the public to collaborate with the health personnel by promptly reporting any suspected case of measles or outbreak of other contagious diseases.

He Also said that the state’s technical committee decided to carry out a four-day reactive measles vaccination in the affected ward, beginning from January 19 to curtail the disease from spreading to other parts of the community.

Advising parents to comply with routine immunization regime for children age 0 to 11 months, he said that a state wide measles campaign already planned for January 28 to February 1, would offer mop up opportunity for children in Sabo community. 

To prevent the escalation of the disease in the state, Oladipo advised residents to reduce overcrowding and improve ventilation in their homes, as well as seek prompt medical attention once symptoms were noticed.

The official also emphasized the need for personal and environmental hygiene to forestall outbreak of diseases in the state.

However, Oyo government in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and World Health Organisation (WHO) is to vaccinate about 2.5 million children against measles during the forthcoming immunisation exercise.

The exercise scheduled to hold between January 28 and February 1, 2016 is expected to hold in 33 local government areas of the state.

Lanre Abass, acting executive secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, a medical doctor, who disclosed this in Ibadan, said that 15, 708 health personnel would be on ground to visit homes, schools and religious centres to administer the vaccines on children.

According to him, maternal anti-body protects infants against measles in the first nine months of life and prevents response to vaccine before nine months, adding that measles vaccines are safe and are kept at preserved condition. Card will be issued to children and we are going to be marking their hand in order to prevent them from taking the vaccines twice.”

While urging parents, traditional rulers and religious leaders to give necessary support to ensure that every eligible child benefited from the exercise and be fully protected against measles, said “it is important that children from nine months to five years of age are vaccinated, at least, twice with the vaccines”.

“To avoid measles outbreak, children in every village and community should receive routine vaccinations before the age of one year,” he said.

Describing measles as capable of reducing a child’s ability to fight other diseases, he  gave the symptoms of the disease as high fever, redness of the eyes, running nose and body rashes.

He also revealed the readiness of the state government to meet the set target, stressing that each council will be equipped with adequate vaccines and personnel for the exercise

Oluwatoyin Olawoyin, the state health educator, declared that as part of the state measles surveillance activity  in 2015, 761 blood samples from children were taken to the laboratory .

“In addition, we had 9.7 percent of the number with negative result while 3.7 percent tested positive for measles. The number of children who tested positive in 2014 was 2.2 percent while in 2013, 15.3 percent of 567 blood samples belonging to children tested positive to it. More cases were recorded in Ibadan North West last year.”