Fashola Flags Off July 2009 Sub-National Immunization Days
• Says eradication of polio in Lagos, Nigeria is a must
Jul 2, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday flagged off the July 2009 Sub-National Immunization Days in Lagos saying the eradication of polio disease in Lagos and Nigeria is a task that is possible to achieve with the support of the people.
Governor Fashola, who performed the ceremony at the Ikota Primary School on Lagos-Epe Expressway said with the support of the people, the Lagos State Government, as a team, has achieved seemingly impossible feat in the last 25 months and so the eradication of polio from the State would not be an exception.
“As a team, as a government, in the last 25 months, we have seemingly done the impossible. We have overcome the challenge of insecurity in Lagos; we have brought down a partially collapsed building that people said was impossible to do, but we did it; people thought Lagos would come to a standstill when we had to repair the 3rd mainland Bridge, but with your support we did it. People thought Oshodi was impossible, but with your support we did it. With your support, we can eradicate polio from Lagos and from Nigeria”, the Governor assured.
Describing children as the purest of human beings, Governor Fashola implored all stakeholders in the immunization exercise – mothers, the development partners (UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International e.t.c.) and Local Government and Local Council Development chairmen in the State, to assist him in looking after the children.
“They are innocent, they are pure and I want to look after all of them. But I cannot do it on my own. I, therefore, need your help - mothers, our development partners, UNICEF, Rotary, WHO – let us together help secure the future of these children”, the Governor implored.
To Chairmen of the Local Government and Local Council Development areas of the State, Governor Fashola declared, “This is another call to duty. The success of our efforts to eradicate polio, not only in Lagos but in Nigeria, depends on the role the primary healthcare centres under your care play”, adding, however, that in the last few months, the Local Government Areas in the State have demonstrated that they are Local Government Areas of excellence.
“I hear, I see and I get feedbacks. I am happy to say that the feedbacks are positive, the people are happy. But, like I always say, the reward you get for good work is more work. Our task is simple. Immunize the children from the ages zero to five so that we can secure their future”, he said.
He urged the enumerators not to skip any building as they go to the communities to immunize the children, adding, “Make sure you knock at every door, make sure you enter, make sure you give opportunity to every child in the area you have been assigned to administer this polio vaccine and ensure that we don’t leave any child behind”.
The Governor, who said all the state governors in the country are equally concerned about the eradication of polio in the country, revealed that the governors in the 36 states of the Federation have agreed at the Governors’ Forum to set aside a uniform day to simultaneously lead a drive in all the states to eradicate polio in the country.
The Governor commended all the development partners for their consistent support in the drive saying with such consistency and support, nothing is impossible to achieve.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said the Lagos State Government has placed very high premium on the children of the State and as such is doing everything in its power to assist them achieve the highest standard of health which, according to him, is their right.
“This campaign is one of such activities which are aimed at protecting the children against paralysis usually in the legs”, the Commissioner said explaining that the virus, after initial infection, is spread through faeces by the usually unconscious primary victim and can spread rapidly through the community unless prevented by immunization.
The Commissioner urged parents and guardians to take their children and wards to the various healthcare centres in the State for routine immunization pointing out that this is the only way to ensure that the efforts of Government are not wasted.
In her goodwill message earlier, the First Lady and wife of the Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Olufunmilayo Olatunji, urged mothers to make their children available for immunization during the exercise as well as take them to the various healthcare centres for regular immunization.
The First Lady said the current efforts at eradicating polio in the State represents another opportunity rescue children from child mortality, describing as very pathetic the incidence of a mother having to lose her child after labouring in pregnancy an care for the child, a situation which she described as unacceptable.
Also in his goodwill message on behalf of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Labaran Ibrahim commended Governor Fashola for the efforts his administration to eradicate polio in the State, saying the State has achieved 75 per cent eradication of the disease.
Dr. Ibrahim, who described Governor Fashola as the Governor of Governors, said the consistency of such an effort will certainly kick polio out of the State and country adding, however, that the disease has continued to exist in the country in spite of all the efforts because of “the missing child” whom he explained is that other child who is always left out during the various immunization exercises.
The Country Representative of UNICEF in the State in his goodwill message on behalf of the agency, also praised the Lagos State Government for the stride it has achieved in the effort to eradicate the dreaded disease from the country through its programmes.
Other agencies and stakeholders who gave goodwill messages at the occasion included the IPI and the World Health Organization, which was represented at the occasion by Mr. Alex Gasasera on behalf of the Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Peter Eriki, as well as the Rotary International whose representative stressed the need to ensure that no child is left behind in the exercise. He also urged Governor Fashola to carry the message of the campaign to his brother governors in the other states of the Federation.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of Eti-osa Local Government Area, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi said his administration has been consistent in implementing routine immunization of children in the area against the dreaded disease as well as preventive healthcare in line with the State government’s policy on Preventive Healthcare.