March 17, 2018 11:21 am
This month, the Rivers State Government started the first and second phases of measles vaccination for children between 9 and 59 months, but the exercise have hit a few bumps which led the ministry of health to extend the period for the first phase by about three days. One significant problem that the ministry has faced is the lack of cooperation from some private schools in the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike said some private schools especially in Oyigbo are refusing immunization officers access to children in the schools. Although some of the schools have become more receptive, according to the commissioner, he went on to issue a stern warning to schools that are still hostile. He threatened to blacklist them and inform the Ministry of Education to take relevant actions/sanctions against them.
From indications, the attitude of the schools could be connected to a widespread rumour in October 2017, which started in the South-East, that the Military was planning to infect students and pupils with monkey pox. The rumour soon spread to Rivers State, and parents and guardians panicked, heading to the schools to retrieve their children and wards. It took about a week for normal curricula activities to return.
Professor Chike told newsmen that the possible suspicion of the private schools in the current immunization exercise is not valid. He said that measles, if not properly managed could cause severe sight, hearing impairments and other medical conditions. He also assured that the vaccination is safe and “has nothing to do with injection of poisons into children.”