By Kemi Olatunde
Ondo State, like most states in the South West gives priority to immunisation. Federal and state governments leave no stone unturned in ensuring that children are well vaccinated, with assurance that the vaccines are in good condition.
The state has a cold chain for the storage of the vaccines and it is believed to be the best in Nigeria with assorted world class facilities installed there.
Despite the efforts of government in ensuring adequate vaccination of children across state, some organisations/establishments have not been cooperating with the vaccination teams as they at times prevent them from carrying out their roles.
It will interest you to know that some private schools and churches are the culprits in this regard.
A popular private school around FUTA south gate junction in Akure which is owned by a medical doctor ( names witheld) and another first class private school in Owo owned by a popular religious organization are those mostly fingered by top government officials to have been in the habit of turning their back on health workers when it comes to vaccinating their pupils.
The Hope gathered that the school which belongs to the medical doctor put up the attitude based on parents ‘submission as most of them never wanted their children vaccinated due to personal reasons while that of Owo claimed that they doubt the authenticity of the vaccines.
“The school in Owo as we gathered, house most of the children of medical professionals especially Doctors at the Federal Medical Center, Owo.
They were said to be protecting their children against either overdose of vaccine or substandard vaccine. We from the Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (OSPHCDA) swung into action by aggressive sensitisation on the need to have the pupils immunized and this yielded positive result.
“For the school close to FUTA, I personally engaged him and told him that most of the officials of OSPHCDA are qualified professionals and will not take with levity the health of our children.
The Proprietor said that all the children in the school are fully immunised as they took all the prescribed dose of immunisation as evident in their immunisation cards which was checked before their admission into the school.
After several engagements, we are now on the same page as our immunization team is always welcomed to the school.
“There is also a Catholic School in Oke – Ijebu in Akure which initially never permitted the team but along the line, the management agreed that the agency writes a notification letter ahead of the exercise in order to prepare the mind of parents for it and also to know those who may have been vaccinated before the visitation to prevent vaccine overdose.” A top government official from OSPHCDA disclosed.
In health matters, religious organisations should be dependable stakeholders but in this case, some give little or no attention to it especially in the area of vaccination or how would one explain the scenario where health officials are being chased, as if they have committed a great offence, just for doing the needful.
Living Faith Church worldwide, Apostolic Faith Church across the state, End Time Church, Mimiko Estate, Oda and Sotitobire new Nazareth on Earth, Akure, popularly known among residents as Sotitobire as among the list of churches adamant to the exercise in the state.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an active member of Sotitobire who is also a civil servant denied the allegation, stating that the team only visited the church once.
According to her; “The team came then without any prior notice and even without proper introduction and started immunising the children. Although, it is the carelessness of the teachers in the children department that gave room to this action but no church or establishment will take that. Our Pastor even mentioned it recently that the carelessness of these teachers brought about his recent predicament where he had to be imprisoned before he was released by God.
“The team ought to have notified the church or better still looked out for one of the Pastors to inform him of their motive. We don’t take nonsense and that was why we never allowed them but the team never came back.”
Immunisation is a simple and effective way of protecting children from serious diseases. It not only helps protect individuals, it also protects the broader community by minimising the spread of disease.
Vaccines work by triggering the immune system to fight against certain diseases. If a vaccinated person comes in contact with these diseases, their immune system is able to respond more effectively, preventing the disease from developing or greatly reducing its severity.
Immunisation protects against many serious childhood diseases, including; whooping cough, measles, Polio, Hepatitis etc.
These diseases can cause hospitalisation, serious ongoing health conditions (including cancer, brain damage and deafness) and are sometimes fatal. High immunisation rates in the community have led to many of these diseases becoming rare. However, they still exist and the risks of side-effects or complications from these diseases are far greater than the very small risks of side effects from vaccination.
Vaccines are products that are usually given in childhood to protect against serious, often deadly diseases. By stimulating your body’s natural defenses, they prepare your body to fight the disease faster and more effectively.
Vaccines help immune system fight infections more efficiently by sparking immune response to specific diseases. Then, if the virus or bacteria ever invades the body in the future, the immune system will already know how to fight it.
It is important to note that vaccines are very safe. Children are far more likely to be hurt by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. All vaccines go through rigorous safety testing, including clinical trials, before they are approved for the public. Countries will only register and distribute vaccines that meet rigorous quality and safety standards.
According to UNICEF, Vaccines save lives. Measles vaccines alone are estimated to have prevented over 21 million deaths between 2000 and 2017.
Vaccines will help protect your child against diseases that can cause serious harm or death, especially in people with developing immune systems like infants.
It’s important to vaccinate your child. If not, highly contagious diseases such as measles, diphtheria and polio, which were once wiped out in many countries, will come back.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), Immunization is a global health and development success story, saving millions of lives every year. Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds.
We now have vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives. Immunization currently prevents 3.5-5 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles.
Immunization is a key component of primary health care and an indisputable human right. It’s also one of the best health investments money can buy.
It is important for children to be vaccinated as and when due rather than delay or skip it.
Unborn babies are protected by their mother’s antibodies, which last for a few months after birth. Once these antibodies wear off, babies are at risk of serious infections and diseases. Babies are due for their first vaccinations before these antibodies disappear . Vaccines are recommended for babies because their immune systems are not yet fully mature, making it easier for bacteria and viruses to multiply.
Vaccination is a very safe prevention tool. However, no medication can ever be 100% safe. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks of becoming ill with a life-threatening disease
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