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Why we no longer reject immunisation – Jigawa community

Some parents and communities in Nigeria, especially in the North, often reject immunisation for their children despite its many benefits. However, some measures adopted by…

Some parents and communities in Nigeria, especially in the North, often reject immunisation for their children despite its many benefits. However, some measures adopted by local and international agencies have begun to yield positive results in changing people’s perception on immunisation.

Experts have described as impressive the rate at which several communities in Gagarawa LGA of Jigawa State responded to the recent cerebrospinal meningitis immunisation campaign. The town has a yearly temperature of 33.5°C, which is higher than the national average. It has a subtropical steppe climate which makes it a very hot place.

When the Jigawa State Government confirmed the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in some of its LGAs, including Gagarawa, the state’s Director of Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA), Dr Shehu Sambo, noted that some of the affected LGAs were sharing borders with Niger Republic.

Findings revealed that with the collaboration between the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), GAVI and other development agencies, a joint rapid response team was formed and dispatched to the affected areas.

It was also revealed that with support from the development agencies, recorded cases were isolated after medical teams were dispatched to start immunising the target population. Following the outcome of the measures put in place, an immunisation campaign was launched to arrest the spread of the disease.

Khadija Adamu, a 14-year-old resident of Gagarawa, said she came to take immunisation even though her father was far away from home. She explained that her father left strong directives that no member of his family should be left out when it came to meningitis immunisation.

Khadija said, “My father lined us up last year to take the immunisation. He later made it clear to all of us that we should take it whenever it was time to do it even when he was not around. I think what really made my father and other family heads to fully accept immunisation is because they now know meningitis and what it’s capable of doing. They have seen life after being immunised. Perhaps, they have built a strong confidence on the efficacy of immunisation.”

Similarly, Aliyu Nura, a 13-year-old boy, said that his father would punish him if he returned to find out that he missed being part of the immunisation.

Aliyu said, “My father told me and my two sisters before he left for the market that we should make sure that we took our immunisation doses when the exercise began. That was why we didn’t wait for anybody when the exercise started this morning. I have taken mine and my two sisters have taken theirs as well.”

Also, Malam Ali Miga, the Health Educator in Gagarawa, said the role played by Gavi and UNICEF in sensitising the people on prevention and control measures encouraged the community to fully participate in the immunisation campaign without much ado.

Malam Ali said, “I have been a part of several health-related activities for years, and I must confess the meningitis campaign has been embraced wholeheartedly by the community. How this was done, I can’t say for now, but I was told that the awareness campaign coordinated by development partners following the outbreak last year and the encouragement methods adopted contributed to the impressive turnout of residents to access the immunisation.”

He explained that people were advised to take precautionary measures by sleeping in ventilated rooms, avoid overcrowding, especially in rooms, and ensure that they received the meningitis immunisation.


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