Globally, it is said that over a million cases of Meningitis is recorded annually, with about ten thousand cases of such new infections reported in Nigeria, hence the holistic approach by the Federal Government and its partners to reduce the indices and prevent possible deaths.
Cross River State over the years, had adopted its own perculiar means of information dissemination as regards health interventions especially to those in both urban and rural areas through partnership with key stakeholders for the promotion of these messages as well as encourage targeted population.
As part of efforts to raise awareness on the forthcoming routine Meningitis Immunization for children in Cross River, the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, has begun advocacy visits to some key stakeholders including religious groups, traditional and contemporary media outlets, traditional institutions for proper information dissertation and collaboration.
The latest was the visit to the state office of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), to seek support in the enlightenment of Cross Riverians and residents on the importance of administering vaccines to children which may include health and economic benefits.
Speaking during visit, Director General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong thanked the NOA for its long lasting support and partnership over the years which according to her had contributed to the successes recorded by the state in previous campaigns as well as health enlightenment programmes.
She noted that messages in various indigenous languages has help bridged the gap between what was being assumed and the reality on ground, especially as they affect women and children health, which sometimes was seen as a population control strategy adopted by government over a certain ethnic group.
“The relationship between both Agencies is one that have yielded huge success and brought so much benefits to the state and our people. We are proud to say you contributed immensely to Nigeria’s polio free certification because you took our messages to all the local villages and meet with all opinion leaders to adopt immunization as a way of life. It is on the same note that we have come to plead for your support in the forthcoming Meningitis vaccination to reach out to parents and caregivers to allow their children be be vaccinated especially as the dry season approaches.”
On his part, the Communication for Development Consultant, UNICEF, Mr Eke Tobechi, admonished the Agency to focus on the border and hard to reach communities in the state which he said are the most volatile and assessment based areas.
He urged them to emphasize on card retention, record keeping and child mapping which are strong forces in state’s rating and evaluation by the national team for the implementation of the program and subsequent ones.
Responding, the State Director of the National Orientation Agency, Mr A.J. Ogban appreciated the team for the visit as he described the partnership between the State Primary Health Care Agency and the National Orientation Agency as interwoven, adding that they both work together to ensure a healthier community.
He promised his team’s total support, stating that directives will be given to all officers to help promote the forthcoming Meningitis vaccination as well as other primary health care awareness campaign.
The 2020 Meningitis vaccination will commence in Cross River State from the 4th to the 10th of December 2020 and additional two days across all local government areas with a targeted population of 800,000 children who fall between the ages of 1-5 years.
Parents and Caregivers are advised to take their children to government owned facilities, designated fixed posts which will be located around schools, churches and places of public interest.