Lagos State government under the State Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), on Friday flagged-off meningitis vaccination in the State in order to get rid of ‘Men A meningitis’ and protect children against same.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), Dr. Tayo Lawal flagged off the exercise at the Primary Health Center, PHC, Palm Avenue, Muslim, Lagos.
Speaking during the flag-off Lawal said meningitis is a devastating disease and remain a major public health challenge, adding that “the wellbeing of our children is paramount to the future of Lagos State and Nigeria as a nation”.
He stated that meningitis is an infectious disease affecting the lining of the brain and capable of causing serious fatalities, “this is especially so for States in the Meningitis belt in Nigeria”, adding that many organisms cause meningitis including viruses, fungi and bacteria.
‘’For bacterial Meningitis, the most common cause is Neisseria Meningitis, Meningitis is known to commence at the peak of the dry season and stops abruptly in the rainy season. People of all ages can be effected with the bacteria, children between the ages of 5-14 years being the most vulnerable’’, Dr Lawal said.
Lawal posited that sero- type A is responsible for most of the epidemic in the Meningitis belt, but with the introduction of Men A vaccine in West African countries within the belt, there has been a remarkable decline in the incidence of the disease and that with the introduction of the vaccine into the national immunization schedule, the incidence of the epidemics will further decline greatly.
He emphasised that signs and symptoms of Meningitis include; severe headache of sudden onset, high grade fever, nausea, vomiting, irritability, neck stiffness, convulsion and loss of consciousness, complications include arthritis, hearing impairment, seizures, mental retardation, paralysis, and death.
Adding that a diagnosis is made after a sample of cerebrospinal fluid taken by doctor from a suspected patient is tested and bacterial organism is isolated, it can also be made from a test called ‘’polymerase Chain Reaction”.
“Treatment is always with antibiotics using national guideline, while prevention of bacterial Meningitis is by vaccination with Meningococcal Vaccine and by avoiding overcrowding, observing good personal hygiene and exclusive breastfeeding.
Dr Lawal also said Lagos has never had any epidemic of meningitis, but due to the daily influx of people into State from different parts of the Country, the State is on the high alert and in line with National programs, we are introducing Meningitis A conjugate vaccine into National Routine immunization schedule. This means that from now onwards, Men A conjugate vaccine would be available in all Primary care health facilities in the State.
He stated that the vaccine is going to be administered as injection into the left upper outer thigh at 9 months of age, it is to be administered alongside with measles and yellow fever vaccines which are all injectable.
Lawal appealed to all mothers not to be apprehensive and to allow their children to be given three injections at the same time, “the vaccines are all safe and do not cause any disease, it is life time protection vaccines that far outweighs little discomfort the children may feel.
“All the vaccines are free in all government-owned hospital,” said the permanent secretary.
He further stated that Lagos State Primary Health Care Board is positioned and ready to deliver quality basic health care services to the people of Lagos State.
“While the delivery of quality routine and supplemental immunization to our children remains the priority of the Board” assuring that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Primary Health Board is determine to implement government policies towards achieving an improve and sustainable Health care Agenda of the State Government.
He encouraged all parents and guardians in all locality in the State to embrace immunization services in all the Primary Health Care Centres (PHC) across the State especially the newly introduce vaccine Men A that is available in all Primary Health Care Centres in the State.