More than 800,000 children below five years have been targeted in Sokoto State in northern Nigeria, as the 5th round of the “sub-immunization plus days” against polio starts in 19 states in the north.
The Sokoto government, which is to cover 23 local government areas, started the exercise in Arkilla village in Wamakko local government.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Abdullahi Salame, flagged off the program.
The polio immunization program in the northern states has assumed an important event to rid the region of polio, a communicable disease that ravages the area.
It took the effort of various stakeholder, including a massive campaign by the international community to sensitize traditional rulers and Islamic religious leaders to accept polio immunization.
The people, backed by Islamic clerics, have been resenting immunization because they feared it was another contraceptive designed to reduce the population of the region.
Salame said there was need for parents to ensure that their children and wards were immunized against the killer disease .
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jabbi Kilgori, appealed to traditional and religious leaders to support the exercise and explained that this was imperative in the global struggle to keep polio and other childhood killer diseases at bay .
“The government is doing everything possible to ensure that the July 2009 target of interrupting polio in Nigeria is met,” he said.
Dr. Kilgori said adequate “gifts’’ have been distributed to the 23 local government areas
“They include, biscuits, sweets, detergents and paracetamol tablets which are being given to each immunized child as a gift to encourage the parents to bring their children during the 4-day exercise,” he explained.
More than one million doses of polio vaccines were distributed to the local government areas.
Source African Press Agency