By Magnus Effiong, Calabar
Dr Linda Ayade, wife of the Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has flagged off the Second Outbreak Response (OBR2) phase for polio vaccination in Cross River.
Flagging off the campaign at the Aku Nursery and Primary School, Big Qua Town, Calabar Municipal Local Government Area of the State, weekend, the Governor’s wife appealed to religious leaders, traditional rulers, parents, schools, churches, and caregivers to support public enlightenment campaigns meant to eradicate Polio Virus Type Two amongst children and reduce childhood diseases.
She noted that immunization remained crucial to the survival of children against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Mrs. Ayade, who was represented by the Director-General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, said that children aged between 0 and 5 years would be administered two drops of the novel polio vaccine Type Two alongside other antigens that are due.
She said the State government was determined to continue to allocate more resources to ensure a seamless campaign and therefore urged parents and caregivers to ensure that their eligible children were immunized against polio.
“Today we are flagging off the Outbreak Response 2 campaign against the dreaded type2 poliovirus. In this particular campaign, we are targeting children between the ages of 0-5 years. This is because we want to ensure that Cross River State does not record any case of polio.
“The Outbreak Response campaign affords us the opportunity to ensure that health workers reach out to children in hard-to-reach areas across the state.”
“We are hoping to vaccinate over 900,000 children and we believe that this will afford us the opportunity to ensure that every child is protected against the virus.”
She also mentioned that one of the reasons for the outbreak response was the reemergence of type2 polio in other parts of the country.
“Recently, Nigeria was declared polio-free and all the three types of polio were no longer in Nigeria. However, the type2 virus has reemerged in some states and that is why the outbreak response was introduced to see that we can curb the spread.
“In Cross River State, we do not have any case of polio and we hope to sustain the status in the state by ensuring that every child is protected against the virus.”
“We have also done border synchronization where people from this other part of the country reach out to other countries to ensure that those who are closed to our borders are also vaccinated.
“So in this particular campaign, children who are on the other side that is closed to our borders will be also vaccinated. These are measures to ensure that we do not have those diseases crossing into our state.”
“Polio is a highly infectious disease that affects the nervous system of the body and that is why we do not take this disease for granted.
“It is a disease that once you contact it, there is no cure. The only thing you can do is to prevent it. Polio has caused lots of damage, not just on the health of the children but also the psychological trauma of a family having a child who cannot walk.
“In addition to the campaign, we also have other baskets of services available even for adults. We are using this opportunity to give the Covid19 vaccine to parents and caregivers. Our health workers will be going around to give the Covid19 vaccine,” she submitted.
Ekpenyong assured that “the oral polio vaccine (nopV) is not harmful. It is safe, effective, and given free of charge.”