The Kwara government, on Monday, introduced the Second Dose Measles Vaccine (MCV2) into the routine immunisation to prevent illnesses and deaths among the vulnerable in the state.
Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, while speaking at the flag-off of the campaign in Ilorin, said that the immunisation, would also help to stop death among children under five years.
Abdulrazaq, represented by the Commissioner for Information, Mrs Adenike Oshatimehin, said that the exercise would cover all the 16 local government areas in the state.
According to him, the Federal Government in collaboration with partners and donors, has introduced MCV2 into the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in the 17 southern states of the country.
He said that the second phase introduced in the remaining northern states, including the FCT, had been scheduled for December, adding that the state was part of the intervention.
“Measles is an acute infectious disease caused by the measles virus. It is one of the leading causes of illnesses and deaths among children under five years of age,” he said.
The governor stated that more than 17,000 measles cases were reported every year in Nigeria, with thousands cases never recorded.
“Available data between 2000 and 2016 shows that the use of measles vaccine has resulted in 84 percent reduction in deaths.
“As part of efforts to attain global measles eliminations, we have developed a national measles plan (2018 to 2028), which includes introduction of MCV2 into routine immunisation,” he said.
The governor said that a single dose of vaccine was not enough to attain at least 95 percent immunity, with more than 90 percent coverage needed to build protection on the community.
He added that only 85 percent of children, who received first dose measles vaccines, would seroconvert, thus necessitating revaccination in order to protect the remaining 15 percent who failed to seroconvert.
Earlier, Dr Nusirat Elelu, Executive Secretary, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said that the action plan was in line with the country’s immunisation and primary health care guide.
Elelu said that the document was the National Strategy for Immunisation and PHCs’ System Strengthening (NSIPSS). She recalled that before the introduction of measles vaccines in 1963, the disease used to cause an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.
“Measles vaccination prevented an estimated 21.1 million death globally, with 80 percent decrease in deaths from an estimated 545,000 in 2000 to 110,000 in 2017,’’ she said.
The executive secretary noted that 70 percent of measles cases were recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that recent data had shown reemergence in the United States of America.
She also said that in Nigeria, more than 17,000 measles cases were reported yearly, with incidence showing a peak during dry season, from January to March, and a decline when the rains set in.
Elelu said that the burden of measles was higher in the northern zone due to poor immunisation coverage compared with the southern zone.
“Case fatality rates range from 1.9 percent in the southern states to 12.8 percent in the northern states.
“Measles affect all ages and sexes in Nigeria, but it is noted that about 70 percent cases affect mostly children below five years.
“These poor indices are as a result of low levels of routine immunisation coverage which leads to buildup of high proportion of susceptible un-immunised population and ultimately outbreaks,” she said.
Elelu added said that the introduction of the second dose of measles at 15 months was coming at the right time when diseases, such as measles and other respiratory infections, had increased the incidence. She urged mothers and caregivers to seize the opportunity to ensure that eligible children below two years of age got vaccinated.