Nnaya Eziyi, Umuahia
The Educator, Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA), Mrs. Meg Onwu has warned that Virus Measles is as deadly as Human Immune-Deficiency Virus (HIV) if not properly managed.
Onwu stated this during an interface with newsmen ahead of the kick-off of a statewide measles vaccination campaign in the state scheduled for March 8-20 in her office in Umuahia, the capital.
She said like HIV, the virus breaks down the immune system of its carrier thereby exposing him or her to different health challenges such as cold, cough, fever, rashes and even loss of vision in severe cases.
According to her, this is the more reason while it affects mostly children of between the ages of nine months and five years due to their low immunity level, lack of personal hygiene, and preventive measures.
“We are concerned about that age bracket because they are the most venerable. The campaign is a follow-up to any vaccinations they may have received earlier. It is to further fortify their immunity,” she noted.
The educator said the campaign is specifically targeted against the virus and is therefore going to be different from the normal scheduled house to house routine integrated immunisation programme.
Onwu, who maintained that the campaign would be health facility-based, added that “in a situation where there is no such facility, it would be executed at fixed posts such as town halls, school buildings or palaces.”
Explaining that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is expected at the flag-off the campaign in Obingwa Local Government Area on March 6, she added that over 490 teams made up of seven members would be involved it.
Onwu said members of the teams, who had been adequately trained according to their schedules of duty would be deployed at ward or village levels according to their population densities for effective coverage.
According to the educator, the success of the campaign was not only dependent on the team, but also on other stakeholders in the sector especially traditional rulers, faith-based organisations, and the media.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the agency. Dr. Chigozie Adindu, noted that ensuring the success of the campaign must be all encompassing because every individual is either a parent or guardian.
Similarly, a resource person, Mr. Iyke Odoemela, emphasised the need for collaboration between the agency, the populace, parents and guardians to ensure the success of the campaign.