By Hassan Zaggi
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has offered to support the Borno State government to interrupt measles transmission as well boost the immunity of vulnerable population.
The WHO is providing both technical and financial support to the Borno State government in the exercise which is targeting more than 200 000 children aged six months – 15 years in the recently accessed locations across 9 local government areas (LGAs) of the state .
The affected local government areas according to the world health body include Magumeri, Nganzai and Damboa where suspected outbreaks of measles were reported in April 2018.
Others include Bama, Dikwa, Gwoza, Kukawa, Kala Balge and Ngala where large numbers of children who have not been vaccinated since 2014 are resettling.
WHO already trained and deployed 219 vaccination teams to deliver potent measles vaccine to all eligible children in these areas with a view to stopping transmission and strengthening resistance to the spread of the disease among the population of unvaccinated newly liberated children.
In a statement yesterday, the WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, said: “WHO is at the forefront of the ongoing measles vaccination campaign in Borno state to interrupt the reported outbreaks of measles in parts of the state as well as ensure that newly accessible children are protected from measles infection, wherever they are re-settling.”
It would be recalled that in April 2018, suspected measles outbreaks were reported in Magumeri, Nganzai and Damboa LGAs of Borno state involving more than 350 children with 61 deaths.
The humanitarian crisis caused by conflict in Borno state has left 3.2 million people in need of various assistance including more than 1.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Records indicate that in 2000-2015, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 20.3 million deaths, making measles vaccination one of the best public health interventions.