Polio: El-Rufai launches compulsory immunization for under five
//Polio, Kaduna, Godwin Ekosin//
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has directed all parents in the State to make their children available for immunization against polio or face prosecution. The directive may not be unconnected to recent rediscovery of the disease in one of the Nigerian Northern State.
It would be recalled that the last time the State recorded a polio case was in 2012 and there have been concerted efforts by stakeholders to keep the tempo.
El-Rufai in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Samuel Aruwan on Thursday said, the directive is a mission that all parents must support for the sake of all children below five years old, stressing that vaccination is compulsory and not optional.
The statement, which heralded the commencement of a new round of polio vaccination across the 23 local government areas of the state, reiterated the government’s determination to ensure that no child is exposed to the hazards of any preventable disease.
That statement added that the Governor himself chairs the Kaduna State Taskforce on Polio Eradication Initiative and Routine Immunization hence the need for parents to support the initiative to have a safer and healthier state.
It read in part; “the polio taskforce believes that most parents would easily appreciate the need to vaccinate their children. However, the public interest to protect children against avoidable health threats has led to a decision to make polio vaccination compulsory.
“The state cannot tolerate a situation where the laxity or levity of some parents may expose children to a bleak future. Parents and government must cooperate in guaranteeing good health for children in Kaduna State. The threat from polio is so severe that we must treat it as an emergency. All parents/guardians in the state must ensure that their children/wards are available for immunization.
“Every parent has a duty to protect children from avoidable diseases, so that nothing hinders their chances for a better life and the realization of their full potentials. Voluntary compliance and cooperation with health officials is expected from all parents.
“The Government of Kaduna State wishes to clarify that any parent found obstructing health workers from carrying out their statutory functions will be prosecuted accordingly as prescribed by the law.
“The government has further directed that all eligible children in transit within Kaduna State be made available for immunization at all transit sites (motor parks, road blocks, railway stations, airports etc.) during the period of the campaign.Teams of vaccinators will work with FRSC and NDLEA officials at partial roadblocks to vaccinate children below five who are in transit on highways within Kaduna State.
“Kaduna State Government wishes to commend parents and guardians, and religious and traditional institutionsfor their overwhelming support for previous immunization campaigns. Their continued cooperation in the effort to eradicate polio in the state is deeply appreciated as a most worthwhile investment in the future of our children”.