To curtail the spread of yellow fever killer disease in Ekiti state, the United Nations Children’s and Education Fund (UNICEF) is to immunize two million persons in the state to protect the population from the scourge.
The vulnerable population range between ages nine months to 44 years, representing 85 per cent of the 2.3 million population of the state that will benefit from the inoculation from January 24 -February 2.
World Health Organisation (WHO) state Technical Officer, Ayomide Aibinuomo, described yellow fever as a killer disease, saying it has claimed the lives of many people in the northern part of the country, but with low level of spread in the south.
The WHO expert spoke at the weekend in Ado Ekiti during a seminar organised for stakeholders to work out modalities for the 10 -day vaccination programme against the spread of yellow fever in Ekiti state.
The WHO consultant said the introduction of the intra -muscular vaccination became expedient following 24 suspected incidences recorded in the preceding years.
Aibinuomo disclosed that available statistics indicate that six confirmed cases were recorded out of 18 suspected reported cases of yellow fever attack in 2018 while six were recorded in 2019 respectively.
“We have 24 suspected cases in Ekiti between 2018 and 2019. We have met with traditional, religious and educational institutions to partner us to spread the gospel of anti -yellow vaccination fever across all the 177 wards in the state.
“Though, there may not be any suspected case in 2020, but for the suspected cases recorded in neighbouring states of Ondo, Oyo, Osun and Edo, we have to take proactive measures because Ekiti people have high level of migration.
“The vaccine has no adverse effect. It is free and can be taken by anybody except those with immune-compromised cases like HIV and pregnant persons.
Persons from nine to 44 years are the most vulnerable; that is why they are the target, but those above the age can also be affected too,” he said.
Aibinuomo stated that to aid sensitization across the state, 177 ward mobilizers sponsored by the state government and 85 town announcers have been hired to complement the awareness being done by traditional media.
“It is not oral inoculation, but an injectable vaccine. Let us protect ourselves from this deadly virus. We have lost precious ones to yellow fever and even the simple measles, so there is need for us to take caution,” the UNICEF official added.
Also speaking on the expediency of sensitization, a health officer with the Ekiti state Primary healthcare Development Agency, Mrs. Ajayi A.A. said health workers that will prosecute the inoculation will ensure that all vulnerable citizens are captured in the exercise.
“We are going to work with traditional, religious and youth organizations, so that the community can take ownership of the programme and publicise it.
“We are going to provide logistics that will make us reach even the hardest terrain. We want to get there and vaccinate our people because you cannot under-rate the disease, it has tendency to kill if not properly treated.
“And there is need for behavioural change; people shouldn’t resist the injection because of religion or superstitions. It has no repercussion, it will only strengthen our immunity to prevent us from being attacked by the virus,” she said.