From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, says he is pleased with the level of compliance from residents in the just concluded national immunisation programme against the polio virus, disclosing that up to 80 per cent of the population has been immunised.
Oshiomhole who was speaking Tuesday at the end of the four-day immunisation programme in Benin, said his government will however not rest until it achieves 100 per cent compliance and urged all those yet to key into the programme to do so before the expiration of the extended deadline date that will soon be announced.
He called on all local government council chairmen, traditional rulers, opinion moulders, labour groups, non-governmental organisations, NGOs and various interest groups to unite and ensure that the immunisation message is taken to the grassroots.
“We are happy with the rate of compliance. Eighty per cent is obviously a good mark and there is no reason why we cannot achieve a hundred percent. It is a realistic target and it is a target we must achieve this year, not next year,” the governor said.
The governor said poverty or ignorance is no excuse because the vaccines are free and health centres are in all villages of the state to mobilize and sensitize the people on the need to avail themselves of the opportunity.
Oshiomhole expressed gratitude to the development partners of the state who readily provide data, training and management of the process, adding that “all that is required of us is a level of political will to ensure that we see it through”.
“This is a task that must be done. We have a duty to our people and obligation to our children and to support our mothers who are willing to participate in the exercise,” he said, stressing that it is a shame for Nigeria to be in the same club with Pakistan and Afghanistan when it ought to be leading the African continent.
Earlier, the commissioner for Health, Aihanuwa Eregie, commended the state government for ensuring that the state attains a polio-free status.
She disclosed that various vaccination points have been opened in the villages to ensure that the exercise gets to the grassroots.