By Iduozee Paul, Benin
A consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) on measles, Dr. Orji Chinonyelu, has disclosed that, globally an estimated 246 children die daily from measles and majority of these children are from Africa with Nigeria contributing a huge proportion.
Dr. Orji made the disclosure at a one day sensitization meeting with stakeholders on MCV2 introduction into the routine immunization schedule in Benin city. She said evidence shows that 17,000 cases of measles are recorded yearly with a case fatality rate ranging from 1.9-12.4 per cent.
The WHO consultant further revealed:”Administering measles vaccine at the right time has shown to reduce deaths associated with measles by 84 per cent. Complications from measles can lead to blindness, malnutrition and approximately 85 per cent of children who receive MCV1, will seroconvert.
“Seventy per cent of measles cases are in children who had not received measles vaccine. Attaining 95 per cent coverage with the second dose is attainable and we need at least 90 per cent to build herd immunity. “
To safeguard older children, she explained the need to create an opportunity to establish vaccinations in the second year of life and provide other public health interventions, such as Vit A, LLIN; to reduce morbidity and mortality from measles.
In her welcome remarks, the executive secretary, Edo State Primary Health care Development Agency, Dr. MborieImuwahen, said the launching of the MCV 2 introduction starts November 14 to 18.
Dr. Imuwahen said children to be vaccinated are those within the nine months and 15 months bracket and advised breast feeding mothers to come with their children’s immunization cards.
She stressed that measles vaccine is free, safe and saves lives, and measles is a deadly disease that kills thousands of children annually. According to her, the disease can be prevented with vaccine which is free and available at vaccination posts or health centres.
“When a child shows signs of measles such as high fever, redness of eyes, runny nose and rash , take the child to the nearest health facility. It can reduce the child’s ability to fight other diseases resulting in frequent illness,” the consultant advised.
In a goodwill message, the UNICEF representative at the event, Dr. Olawale said the organization is very passionate to promote health care for children. He stressed that the introduction of second dose vaccine for children from nine months and 15 months against measles is a good idea.
Informing the participants the essence of the stakeholders meeting, one of the facilitators, Irene Uabor said the objectives are to secure community and media support and to identify the vital roles of the media for spreading the news.
Uabor said others objectives are advocacy, community engagement, stakeholders engagement, supervision, monitoring and evaluation. She added that vaccination is a key to global treatment for children against measles.