By Nosa Obaze,
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has pledged support for immunisation of children against measles scheduled to hold in March, calling on his Palace chiefs and religious leaders to drive the sensitisation programme in their communities to ensure an effective outing.
Oba Ewaure stated this during a sensitisation meeting with traditional and religious leaders held at his Palace in Benin City.
Addressing the chiefs and other members of the Edo State Taskforce on Immunisation, the Oba stressed the need to immunise children between the ages of 9- 59 months against measles, which starts on March 1 to end on March 6.
“Immunisation has to be part of the early lives of our children as it prevents killer diseases. It is an important project and we will do our best to support the programme and enlighten our people to make the exercise as effective as possible,” he said.
He commended Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, for his relentless work to improve the well-being of the people.
The Oba, however, charged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to focus on research to develop long-lasting medication against malaria which has for a long time, devastated African countries.
Earlier, Governor Obaseki, said the Edo State taskforce on immunisation was in the palace to solicit the Oba’s support and royal statement on immunisation, as such an endorsement will go a long to encourage people to participate in the programme.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, said his administration prioritises primary healthcare as a cardinal policy for improving the lives of the people, stressing that enhanced primary healthcare system will reduce the burden on secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities in the state.
Obaseki noted that statistics of immunisation in the state were worrisome, mandating the task-force to work harder to reverse the trend.
He said “Your Royal pronouncement as the paramount ruler of Benin will help to sensitise the people on the need to support, cooperate and eradicate killer diseases in the state.
“Children between ages 0-12 months are most important in the immunisation programme because of their weak immune system. If they are not immunised, they can die from diseases that these vaccines can prevent.”
State coordinator, WHO, Faith Ireye, said the sensitisation exercise would ignite the needed commitment to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases and protect children against diseases in Edo state.
“The 2016 National Immunisation Coverage survey showed 75 per cent coverage, 16 per cent dropout and 57 per cent card retention for Edo State.
“National immunisation target is 94 percent; the ideal dropout rate should not be 10 per cent while card retention is expected to be 100 per cent. Strategies are being put in place by government and other partners to improve the above situation,” Ireye added.