The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that measles remained one of the worst killers of children globally, warning that it was imperative for all nations to take decisive medical actions to tackle the disease.
The WHO coordinator in Ekiti, Dr Olufunmilola Kolude, hinted that the scourge was killing children despite the availability of vaccines across the world, saying the situation prompted the introduction of the Measles Containing Vaccine Two (MVC2) to be administered to children between postnatal ages of 15 and 23 months.
Dr Kolude said this in Ado Ekiti on Thursday when Ekiti state First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi flagged off measles containing vaccine 2 into routine immunisation at the state capital.
The medical programme MVC2 was introduced by WHO in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET).
The WHO expert said: “Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and an important cause of death among young children globally. Several cases have been reported recently across Nigeria, especially in Oyo, Lagos and and Ogun this year, but Ekiti didn’t experience it because of the success of the 2018 immunisation programme.
“Ekiti has not recorded any outbreak this year and this could be attributed to the success of measles vaccination of 2018. In 2019, out of 577 suspected cases, only 15 were positive and only three were below age five years. Also in 2018, out of 584 suspected cases, only five were positive and only one was below 5 years.
“The introduction of this second dose was occasioned by the fact that not all children received the first dose at after nine months. This will also reboost the first dose and increase the coverage by 95 per cent.”
Mrs Fayemi disclosed that about 17,000 cases of measles victims are reported annually in Nigeria, with high incidence observed during the dry season.
“Measles affects all sexes and ages but could be more dangerous in children.
For some children, measles can lead to pneumonia, which is a serious lung infection, lifelong brain damage, deafness and possible death among mostly children below 5,” she said.