Rotary club of Abuja Federal has launched a project to distribute some 2,000 custom-made “immunisation reminder” bags to mothers across five communities in the FCT.
The launch of the project started with 250 mothers getting the “immunisation reminder” bags in Piwoyi, an inner-city slum community the club has adopted for its disease-prevention-and treatment campaign.
“The federal government has done a lot of work in terms of increasing supply chain and motivating healthworkers to do their work. However, demand creation for vaccines is still low and remains a challenge for increasing routine immunisation in Nigeria,” said Diana Eyo-Enoette, president of the club, at the launch of the project.
The bag is a walking mini billboard etched on one side with the entire schedule for routine immunisation for children in their first year of life.
The plan is that mothers carrying the bags each time they have their babies will see the schedule and always be reminded about immunisation.
“It is a no-brainer. Every mother, whether you are rich or middle income, you will carry a bag once you have a child. A mother is always with her child and with her bag,” explained Eyo-Enoette.
“If the immunisation schedule is there, it triggers the mother’s memory. She, knowingly and unknowingly, is an ambassador and everywhere she goes, others will see the schedule and be remind of the need to take their children for immunisation.”
Temmy Crown of Glory, a mother of two, was among women who received the bag in Piwoyi—and said it would be handy as a schedule she can see everywhere instead of relying on appointment dates written on her child’s immunisation card.
The launch of the “immunisation reminder” bag comes at a time the FCT is embarking on a campaign across the Abuja Municipal Area Council to ensure it reaches at least 9 in 10 children as the country heads toward being declared free of polio.
Only AMAC, the largest of the six area councils of the FCT, failed to reach the 90%-coverage threshold in an expanded nationwide campaign in July, prompting the latest round of immunisation.
It will have vaccinators visiting schools, churches, mosques—any location where they can find children eligible for immunisation, said Salome Tor, programme officer for immunisation and campaigns at the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board.
She said the “immunisation reminder” bags would support mothers to remember and keep to the schedule until their children’s immunisation is completed, considering how much population flux the FCT has to deal with.
“The population of the FCT is dynamic. We have a microplan with the current population at hand,” she explained reason why FCT did not meet the 90% threshold
“As I speak to you, some families have entered the FCT to stay, and these people going in and out makes the area population so large it affects the programme. That’s why we have to do it again.”