By Stanley Onyekwere
Residents have been advised to embrace routine immunisation at hospitals and best hygiene practices in their homes, as part of measures for prevention of outbreak and spread of diseases especially polio in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board (PHCDB), of the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat (FCT-HHSS), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, who gave the advice, specially urged people to construct sanitary facilities in their houses and offices, to prevent outbreak and spread of contagious diseases in their domains.
He spoke at the weekend, during the flag-off of this month’s round of Polio eradication and routine immunisation plus-Days at Angwan Hauwasa, Damagaza village, Abuja.
He said cholera and diarrhea outbreak is often as a result of poor hygiene practices like open defecation and improper hand washing method by people while handling food, especially in rural areas.
He added that there is the need to educate parents who would take the message back to home, and instill best personal hygiene practices on their children.
According to him, many people had resorted to open defecation, due to insufficient toilet facilities, thereby contributing to the spread of diseases in the Territory.
“We have found out that so many places in the FCT where people, especially children gather to have fun, lack adequate toilet facilities for sanitary conveniences, ’’he said.
He however, noted that since March 2013, when the FCT recorded three cases of polio outbreak, it had not recorded any of such, due to intensified immunisation programme in the territory.
“If by this time, Nigeria is still recording cases of polio, including the outbreak of cholera, it means that the level of health education especially personal hygiene and adherence to routine immunisation is still low.
“We appeal to mothers to take their children below five years to hospitals for routine immunisation vaccines against contagious diseases especially polio meningitis, to save them from risk of being subjected a lot of sufferings in the future.
“Polio has a lot of stigma-ranging from social, economic to political stigma against Nigerians in the eye of the outside world,” he added.
Peoples Daily reports that the immunisation, which commenced on March 1, would end on March 4 (tomorrow), with another round due in April, aims to mop up any area not attended to.
Also speaking, Chairman Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Micah Jiba, said if parents should cooperate with the government by embracing the programme, there would not be any outbreak of polio or any other disease, in the FCT.
He therefore urged parents to key into the programme by presenting their children for immunization, in order to effectively eradicate polio from the FCT and the country at large.
On his part, Chief of Garki, (Sa’Peyi of Garki), Alhaji Usman Nga-Kupi, pledged to support the government in its effort to eradicate polio, by helping to disabuse peoples’ mind that having immunisation for children impacts negatively on them, with the objective of letting parents know the importance of disease prevention and eradication programmes in the society.
The monarch also urged parents to ensure that their children were immunised during the period, so as to avoid having disable people everywhere in the society.