LASG immunises children ahead of harmattan season



The Lagos State Government has commenced a daily vaccination against meningitis infection at all child welfare clinics in public health facilities across the state.

Dr Odufunke Odukoya-Maijeh, the acting Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, told newsmen on Thursday in Lagos that the immunisation was part of the state government’s commitment to curtailing the infection in children.

Odukoya-Maijeh said that the initiative was part of the continuous scheduled immunisation process in public health facilities.

She said that the exercise was targeted at preventing the incubation of meningitis infection being foisted by harmattan on children between 9 months and 12 months of age.

Odukoya -Maijeh said that the programme was implemented through the support of UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) towards alleviating the medical plight of the Nigerian child.

She said: “The infection is quite higher in dusty environment, with the spread of causative factors as bacteria and fungi, hence the need for this intervention.

“It is targeted at curbing the disease prevalence during the harmattan season, which is further aggravated by rural-urban migration, with culminating factor from basically human contact with airborne droplets of cough and sneezing.

“Immunising ahead of harmattan is imperative, for the indication comes in form of fever, thus prompting most parents towards self-medication of malaria drugs as respite, which, in actual sense, is a very wrong approach.

“The symptoms include spiking fever, vomiting, headache, nausea and stiff neck, all of which are often mistaken for malaria fever. Hence, it is proper that all efforts are put in place to eradicate the scourge.”

Also speaking, Mrs Blessing Emekam, a Senior Nursing Officer in the hospital’s child welfare clinic, enumerated the economic implications of the disease.

Emekam said: “So far, 54 children have been given vaccine dosages as a regular daily process, besides the weekly immunisation against the malady for all nine-month-old babies.

“This is with keenness at stumping bacterial, viral or fungal inflammation of the meninges, that is, the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

“The infection of the meninges basically affects the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain, featuring variance as pneumoccocal meningitis, meningcoccal meningitis, aseptic meningitis and cryptoccocal meningitis.

“All these indicators could kill in hours, upon manifestation, if left untreated.

“Parents are, therefore, enjoined to bring their children for immediate medical consultation in case of feverish indications associated with stiff neck as well as vomiting and tetanus symptoms.”

The Nigeria News Agency reports that every year, there are no fewer than 1,000 recorded cases of meningitis across the country, which are usually diagnosed through medical scrutiny by professionals.

Following this development, the culminating prognosis, which could be life threatening, often requires antibiotic treatment from steroid and penicillin application unto victims.

Edited by Buhari Bolaji and ‘Wale Sadeeq


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