The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kwara Chapter, on Monday in Ilorin commenced a week-long campaign on the eradication of measles across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
Dr Abubakar Ayinla, the association’s chairman, disclosed this at a news conference heralding the 2015 Physicians’ Week of the association.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the week has as its theme: “Routine Immunisation in the Change Era; Targeting Measles and other Vaccine Preventable Diseases.”
He said that measles was endemic in the country, adding that it was a leading cause of mortality and morbidity for children under age five.
The chairman, who was represented by Dr Musbau Olawale, Vice Chairman of the association, said that the NMA was set to target children of nine and 59 months across the state during the exercise.
He said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that there were about 158, 000 deaths caused by measles annually.
According to him, in populations with a high level of malnutrition and lack of adequate healthcare such as Nigeria, mortality is as high as 10 per cent.
Ayinla pointed out that the country has been conducting surveys every year in order to achieve the elimination goal by 2020, adding that with each round of campaign, a 95 per cent coverage rate was expected in the LGAs and at the national level.
He explained that a plan for the control of measles in 2015-2016 included a national meeting held in Sept. 2014, a pre-epidemic vaccination in identified high risk LGAs, and a nationwide catch-up campaign.
Ayinla also identified the use of existing polio structures to build sustained immunity in security compromised areas, among other plans for the control of measles.
He stated that with collective efforts from public and private partnerships, the eradication of measles was possible by 2020, just as the case with polio.
The chairman, therefore, implored the citizen of the state and the country as a whole to bring their children for immunisation, adding that the exercise was free.