The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has flagged off the Y2022 Integrated Measles Vaccination Campaign, which will run from Friday, June 17 and end Monday, July 4, 2022, across the State.

Flagging off the campaign at the Kosofe Local Government Secretariat, Ogudu, she said measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease caused by a virus and it is a disease of public health importance that usually affects children younger than the age of five years.

Mrs. Sanwo-Olu said affected children develop high fever, cough, runny nose, redness of the eyes, a rash that appears all over the body and, if not prevented or promptly treated, measles could lead to blindness or death.

“Nigeria currently has the highest global burden of measles outbreaks and there have been several outbreaks in some of our LGAs in Lagos State. The measles virus is spread through coughing and sneezing from close personal contact or direct contact with infected persons. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children can become infected in creches and schools, which is why it is important to protect our children from the virus”, she stated.

The First Lady said the campaign would be conducted for eight days each in two streams to maximise resources and ensure that the government reached all the eligible population during these periods and that there would be 10 participating LGAs per stream.

Her words: “The first stream will commence on the 17th to 24th of June, 2022 and the participating LGAs are Agege, Ajeromi, Alimosho, Amuwo-Odofin, Badagry, Ibeju, Kosofe, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Surulere. The second stream will start on the 27th of June and run till the 4th of July in the remaining 10 LGAs – Apapa, Epe, Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Mushin, Oshodi-Isolo, Ojo and Somolu”.

“A total of 1,800 vaccination teams will be available per stream across the LGAs and LCDAs and the teams will be providing the services such as measles vaccination with vitamin A supplements, routine immunisation and COVID vaccination from fixed and temporary posts that include public and selected private hospitals, schools, clinics in religious houses and houses of influential community leaders, all in a bid to reach the eligible population and achieve a 100% coverage”, the First Lady added.

Encouraging all local government stakeholders, especially the Chairmen that all hands must be on deck to ensure a successful outcome across the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas, Dr. Sanwo-Olu also sought the support of community leaders in facilitating community participation and mobilisation of children and eligible adults for the vaccination campaign.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the campaign would be integrated with other services to improve efficiency and effectiveness, especially at the primary healthcare level.

Abayomi, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, said that parents and caregivers could access multiple services at the same time, noting that measles vaccine, vitamin A and polio vaccine would be given to the children free of charge.

In his remarks, the World Health Organisation Team Lead, Lagos Office, Dr Ahmed Khedr, said the United Nations promotes the well-being of individuals and that the campaign was to support Nigeria in her universal health coverage.

Khedr expressed optimism that the campaign team would deliver a good job in vaccinating the targeted children.

Also speaking, the Chief of Health, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Eduardo Celades, stated that the campaign was the first of its kind because measles, polio and COVID-19 vaccination, including vitamins A supplementation were integrated together.

Celades explained that the campaign was designed to improve efficiency and evolve a new way of eliminating the virus in the country.

The Chairman of Kosofe Local Government, Mr. Moyosore Ogunlewe, implored all community leaders to take advantage of the campaign and inform their communities.