By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 3.8 million children have so far been immunised against poliomyelitis from January to June in Kaduna State.
UNICEF’s Health Specialist, Amina Baloni, told newsmen in Kaduna that the immunization of the children was through the collaboration of the state government and other development partners.
According to her, since the last polio case was isolated in 2012, the state has remained polio free till date.
She said that children under-five had been immunised across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state, adding that there were 732 health camps in the state.
The UNICEF specialist said that 98 per cent of children targeted during the four rounds of the exercise were captured using 360 health kits.
She explained that 1,588 volunteer community mobilisers visited 571,680 households to promote integrated health services.
“During the visit, 45,012 pregnant women were tracked and referred for antenatal care services and 79,224 under-one children were also tracked and referred for routine immunisation, while 4,883 received birth certificate.
“Also, 7,980 stakeholders in 266 hard-to-reach communities in 11 LGAs were reached with messages on Integrated Community Case Management for effective management of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia in rural communities,” Baloni said.
The health specialist noted that the draft of the State Health Insurance Policy had been developed and submitted to Governor Nasiru el-Rufai for approval.
Amina Baloni identified delay in accessing approved counterpart funding, unavailability of data tools and ineffective supportive supervision, as major challenges hindering implementation of health projects and activities.
She explained that lack of participation of development partners at the government’s policy making meetings was another challenge.
The UNICEF specialist said that social norms had also remained a challenge to acceptance of health services, adding that commitment of key community stakeholders was required to make a breakthrough.