Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has advised rural communities to shun archaic beliefs that had consistently discouraged them from allowing their children to be immunised against dangerous diseases.
The governor spoke, on Sunday, in Lokoja, at the official flag-off of National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs).
Bello, who was represented by the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Saka Audu, pointed out that the vaccines were meant to prevent killer diseases and not to harm the children.
He said that the exercise was targeted at ridding the nation of polio, and directed the administrators of the 21 Local Governments to provide adequate financial and logistics support to make it a success.
Bello said that Kogi had been polio-free since 2009, and described that as “a thing of joy”.
The Commissioner for Health, whose speech was delivered by Dr. Ahmed Attah, a Special Adviser to the Governor, commended Gov. Bello for approving the release of counterpart funds for all health programmes.
He said that poliomyelitis was a deadly childhood disease that could cripple a child, or even kill the victim.
The official said that children would be immunised against preventable diseases such as polio, diphtheria, pertussis and pneumonia.
Other diseases, he said, included whooping cough, hepatitis B, measles and yellow fever.
Also speaking, a representatives of World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr Kennedy Adejoh, said that insecurity in some places had affected the quest to immunise all children.
“If there is no security, it will be difficult for immunisation officers to reach some settlements. It will also be difficult to carry out surveillance to ascertain the status of children in violent areas, much less attend to them,” he said.
The representative of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Mr James Folayan, in his remarks, hailed the Kogi government’s effort toward ensuring that no part of the state was left out.