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.