By Uchino Amatey
The Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (CR-SUBEB), has pledged its support in creating awareness on the forthcoming Meningitis Campaign holding on the 4th to 10th December, 2020 in Cross River State.
The Board pledged it’s support during an advocacy visit paid by the State Social Mobilisation Team of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), held recently at the Conference Room of SUBEB in Calabar.
While giving the assurances of the Board, the Board Member 1, Mrs Nancy Awukam said: “The health and safety of our pupils is a top priority of SUBEB, if our pupils are sick they cannot get an education. We will give you all the maximum cooperation and put in our best to ensure that our pupils benefit from this campaign. We will ensure that the information you have given us today gets to the nooks and crannies of all our primary schools across the State.
Speaking earlier, the Director General (DG) CRSPHCDA, Dr Janet Ekpenyong said the advocacy visit was important to solicit the Board’s Support to guide against non-compliance of Schools and Parents during the Meningitis campaign which will involve immunisation of children between the ages of 1 to 5.
The DG who was represented by CRSPHCDA’s Director of Community Health Services, Mrs Sally Enyim said SUBEB has a key role to play in the fight against Meningitis, as a major stakeholder in the development of Children.
According to her: “we are here to solicit your support to aid information dissemination across the 18 Local Government Education Authorities and to also enable us gain access to Primary Schools. We know that there are so many misconceptions flying around due to Coronavirus and many parents would not want their kids to be immunised because of several fake news being peddled. But if the information comes from you, parents will be more willing to allow their children get immunised.”
The Community for Development (C4D) Consultant, UNICEF, Mr Tobechi Eke, thanked the Board for the warm reception and hospitality.
He stated that the risk analysis of the State shows that Children between 1 to 5 years are more at risk to be infected with the meningitis virus.
Continuing, Mr. Eke said: “Anybody can get Meningitis but our target group are children from ages 1 to 5, because if we can build up the immunity of these children our society will be safer.”
Mr Eke stated that with SUBEB’s involvement, communities that are hard to reach will be accessed. “When we interface with the Social Mobilisation Department in SUBEB it is going to help us especially in those underserved communities, hard to reach areas and border communities. These are the areas we are trying to access, not just communities in the urban area. We want to ensure that no child is missed during this campaign,” he emphasised.
He said measures have been put in place to ensure that COVID-19 guidelines are followed to ensure the safety of children.
Speaking on some of the issues that may arise during the Meningitis campaign, Mr Eke said, “If a child is vaccinated and afterwards shows signs of adverse effects following Immunisation (AEFI) we have referral centres across the State where cases like these can be handled. All our referral centers have been activated and all our health workers are professionals. They have been trained and screened to ensure that they meet up with International best practices and standards.”
He said the vaccine is free and safe and further appealed to mothers to always partake in routine immunisation during antenatal so as to reduce the disease burden in the State.