Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, over the weekend, flagged off the 2017 National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) at New Benin Market, in Benin, the Edo state Capital.
Addressing the women at the market, Mr. Governor Obaseki stressed the importance of immunisation, urging them to get their children up to 5 years of age immunised.
The governor said that his administration was committed to strengthening immunisation activities as it provided a holistic approach to the prevention of diseases through vaccination, thereby reducing infant and child mortality.
He said, “I understand that the state achieved 76% immunisation coverage as at February this year. I want to assure you that my administration will make it 100% by improving health service delivery in the state”.
This was as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health; Dr Peter Ugbodaga said that the NIPDS would complement the routine immunisation programme in the state.
He also revealed that the choice of flagging off the programme in a market was to ensure that no child was omitted as the health team moves from house to house.
He advised parents, especially mothers, to allow their wards receive immunisation noting that unimmunised children would predispose the state to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.
In addition, the governor revealed that the government was working to improve health and living standards in the state.
"We are commencing the implementation of the Save a Million Lives Programme in the state to ensure that maternal and infant mortality is reduced. We intend to set up a telephone line to allow people report cases of childbirth, and ensure that immunisation follows for the children. We want to also ensure that every market has a primary health care centre with a nurse and necessary facilities and also provide water in our markets as a way of reducing health challenges", he said.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Coordinator of the World Health Organisation, Faith Ireye, commended the state for sustaining a Polio-free state for the past seven years.
She said that the Organisation would continue to collaborate with the state to ensure that children lived healthy lives.
She, however, called for more collective responsibility among stakeholders to ensure the eradication of Polio, noting that Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan were the only three countries in the world, endemic to the disease.
She added that the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) would be winding up its support for immunisation, calling on governments to start planning on how to take responsibility of the immunisation programme.