Sunday 30th April, 2017
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Taraba govt and the fight against polio

Taraba govt and the fight against polio

The efforts of the Taraba State government to ensure that children under the age of five are protected from the deadly polio virus is highly commendable, EMMANUEL AWARI, writes.
Concerned by the re-emer­gence of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) cases in some lo­cal government areas in Bor­no State late last year, the Tara­ba State government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that children in the state are protect­ed from the deadly virus.
This, it has demonstrated, by taking proactive measures in en­suring that children under the age of five are given all the needed protection through vaccination.
These actions are premise on the fact that vaccinating children early against the infectious virus can prevent them from contract­ing the disease, hence, give them the opportunity to live healthy lives and grow to contribute their quota to the development of the state, and indeed, the na­tion at large.
It could be recalled that the Taraba Government recently mapped out strategies in partner­ship with its Bauchi and Gombe states counterparts aimed at pre­venting the virus from having ac­cess to children in the state.
In order to ensure that the strategies succeed, the local gov­ernment chairmen of Kirfi in Bauchi state, Akko and Dukku in Gombe and Karim-Lamido in Taraba state, who share com­mon boundary, inter marry and do businesses together, decided to forge common front in ensur­ing that the virus did not cross their borders.
According to the chairmen of the three local government ar­eas, the inter-state collaboration became necessary because most people living at the state borders were always forgotten during po­lio immunization campaigns.
They further believed that the collaboration and partnership was necessary because if there are lapses in one local government, it could jeopadise the efforts of oth­er states who share common bor­der with it.
To achieve this, a massive po­lio immunization campaign was launched in all the local govern­ment areas in Taraba state recent­ly with the aim of consolidating efforts to ensure that the virus does not have access to children in the state.
Findings by The AUTHORI­TY indicated that polio immu­nization in Taraba state in 2016 had achieved 100 percent cover­age, compared to previous years.
The success was, however, linked to the willingness of most parents and guardians to bring out their children and wards for immunization and the dedication of health workers as well the sup­port of traditional rulers through mobilizing the people in their do­main.
Speaking recently, the Tara­ba State Governor, Darius Dick­son, reiterated the state govern­ment’s commitment to ensuring that children between the ages of zero to five years are vaccinated against the dreaded disease.
The Governor stated this in Kona village while flagging off the sub-national immunization campaign to rid the state of the polio virus.
The governor, who said he was not happy over the resurgence of the polio virus in the country af­ter almost two and a half years of the its absence, reiterated his total commitment to ensuring that the vaccination is carried to all nooks and cranny of the state.
Represented by his deputy, Ha­runa Manu, the Governor said, his government was fully com­mitted to rescuing the health sec­tor, reiterating that he would do everything humanly possible to ensure that the people of the state have access to quality health care services.
He, therefore, assured all the donor partners that the state gov­ernment will always pay its coun­terpart funds to ensure that the state does not lag behind in any of their programmes which are geared towards health care.
To show his seriousness, the governor directed all the 16 lo­cal government caretaker com­mittee chairmen to hold regular meetings with traditional rulers in their various local government areas to give the exercise the seri­ousness its deserved.
Darius insisted that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the disease does not find its way to the state even as it borders Ad­amawa and Gombe States which also share boundary with Borno state.
He emphasized that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps should be given adequate atten­tion by ensuring that the are cov­ered during the exercise.
Speaking earlier at the oc­casion, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Innocent Vakkai, said that the discovery of the three po­lio virus cases in Borno state af­ter two and half years of no polio case was indeed an unfortunate incident, which according to him, prompted the state govern­ment into action to keep Taraba State polio free since its last case three years ago.
According to him, the exercise took place simultaneously in all the 16 local government areas of the state and the Yangtu Special Development Area, pointing out that, teams of vaccinators were to be moving from house to house to vaccinate the targeted chil­dren.
He, therefore, called on par­ents, guardians and care givers to co-operate with the vaccina­tors as they move from house to house in their communities to ensure the success of the immu­nization exercise.
Also speaking, the represen­tatives of development partners all commended the state gov­ernment for always responding promptly whenever the need arises and advised parents to avail their children for this important exercise.

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