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Measles ravages Niger, kills 18 children

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Ondo NMA seeks a state of emergency as 18 died of Measles in Niger.

During a recent meeting with UNICEF stakeholders from the media and education sector to discuss their roles in the campaign against measles, Abari Hassan Musa, the UNICEF Measles Consultant, stated during the meeting that took place in Minna that the records received from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Bida revealed that out of about 1,347 children who were infected by measles, 18 lives had been claimed in Bida Council of Niger State between January and August 2022, and this figure is worrying.

Speaking further, Abari noted that the Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency, in conjunction with UNICEF, has finalized arrangements to launch a campaign that will kick off against measles. The campaign will target 1,146,572 children for vaccination. According to him, the beginning of the first stage of the campaign would take place on October 31. While for the time being, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has also requested that the Federal Government proclaim a state of emergency over the health care system.

Nigeria has the third highest number of doctors who are working in the UK.

Dr. Omosehin Adeyemi-Osowe, Chairman of the Ondo State chapter of the National Medical Association (NMA), made the state of emergency appeal in Akure while speaking to reporters as part of the activities marking the 2022 Physician’s Week. He added that after India and Pakistan, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors who are working in the UK, noting that the country is being devastated by Malaria, Lassa viral hemorrhagic fever, COVID-19, Ebola, and Marburg, among others.

As regards the challenges facing the health sector, Dr. Omosehin voiced his worries about the Nigerian doctor being underpaid, overworked, without the appropriate instruments for the job, and a potential kidnapping target. Due to the probable disrespect and neglect of the health sector by successive governments in Nigeria, the once noble profession of Nigerian doctors has been reduced to obscurity. He encouraged the government of Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in the country’s health sector for the good of its residents, as he stressed the need to do more to ensure the safety of people’s lives and possessions.

Buhari requested the launch of Nigeria’s local production of vaccines.

In the midst of the distress call for a state of emergency, President Muhammadu Buhari has made an announcement in Seoul, South Korea, that Nigeria is ready to become a global hub for the sustainable production and distribution of vaccines and biological pharmaceuticals in order to support initiatives aimed at keeping people safe. As a follow-up to Nigeria’s selection by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the six African countries to get the technology required to create mRNA vaccines, the president further requested the speedy launch of Nigeria’s local production of the vaccines.

During his speech at the World Bio Summit 2022, the president made a dedication to the global response to existing or emerging pathogens. This commitment included the global vaccine assurance ecosystem as well as equitable access for all. Furthermore, at the meeting, which was jointly organized by the South Korean Government and the WHO to discuss the future of Bio-Health and vaccines across the globe, the president stated that Nigeria would continue to utilize multilateral, bilateral and other opportunities that are available for cutting-edge technology as a center for vaccine production and distribution.

Government to boost local vaccine production through partnership.

Moreover, the president stated his government sees opportunities to tackle diseases that have ravaged most third-world countries and sub-Saharan Africa for centuries, and he attributed this to the fact that the mRNA technology makes it possible for science to shift attention to disease threats that have not yet been discovered. The President of Nigeria noted that the Federal Government had authorized a Joint Venture Agreement with a leading Nigerian Pharmaceutical Company for a Public-Private Enterprise in regard to Nigeria’s efforts to boost local vaccine production.

Related Link

UNICEF: Website

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