Stakeholders, on Friday in Akure, embarked on strategies to prevent the outbreak of measles through vaccination in Ondo State.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting, Dr Francis Akanbiemu, the Executive Secretary of Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (OSPHCDA), said that the meeting was necessary to strategise on the introduction of measles-containing-vaccine second-dose (MCV2) in the state.
Akanbiemu, who was represented by Dr Victor Adefesoye, the Director of Disease Control and Immunization of OSPHCDA, noted that measles vaccination, which started on Thursday, had been introduced into regular immunisation (RI) for children between 0 to 23 months.
He explained that MCV2 was a second dose of measles vaccination to be taken when a child clocked 15 months.
The executive secretary asked the stakeholders to dialogue with members of the public so as to spread the information on vaccination.
According to him, the participants should have a total grip of the information in order not to misinform the public.
He expressed appreciation to all the supporting partners, saying that without them, the successes so far recorded would have been difficult.
Akanbiemu also thanked all the stakeholders, saying that they had done brilliantly well even when there was no money to mobilise them.
In his remarks, Dr Samuel Abiona, the Director of Community Health Services and Education of OSPHCDA, described measles as a great cause of economic loss, saying that 17,000 cases were being reported annually in Nigeria.
According to him, no fewer than 246 children die of measles daily in the world, with Nigeria contributing majorly to the figure.
Abiona said that vaccination was one of the most effective ways of preventing the disease.
The director noted that MCV2 was necessary because it was discovered that 15 per cent of children taking MCV1 could resist it, hence the need for the second dose of the vaccination.
He added that MCV2 was another opportunity for children who missed MCV1 at the age of nine months.
Abiona explained that MCV2 was not meant to replace MCV1, adding that the vaccination was free and safe.
“Measles is dangerous and can cause serious complications such as blindness and hearing problem; it can also affect the brain and eventually cause death.
“But the joy of it is that it can be prevented, while its vaccine is safe and free.
“The vaccine may cause a mild reaction, but not complicated, and within a short time, it will go,” he stated.
Mr Adetunji Adeoye, the state Coordinator of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), explained that 70 per cent of measles cases were among those who missed MCV1, hence the need for the introduction of MCV2.
Adeoye said that health workers had been trained to be polite and compassionate with the children taking the vaccine.