By Ruona Isikeh
Benin – The Edo Ministry of Health on Tuesday advised parents to take their babies between nine months and 15 months for vaccination at its primary health care centers to prevent them contracting measles.
Dr Imuwanhen Mbarie, Executive Secretary, Edo State Primary Health Care Board, gave the advice during a one-day sensitisation programme on “Measles Elimination’’ in Benin.
“Measles is a viral infection that has serious health risk for small children but is easily preventable by a vaccine. The disease spreads through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing,” the secretary said.
She said that MCV2 vaccine recently introduced protects children from having measles and protects them from complications much as blindness, malnutrition and death.
Dr Mbaire said measles can be transmitted by saliva (kissing or shared drinks),touching a contaminated surface (blanket or doorknob), skin-to-skin contact (handshakes or hugs) and mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or even nursing.
According to her, the symptoms of measles doesn’t appear until 10 to 14 days after exposure, but includes: cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, blotchy skin rash and fever.
“The aim of this meeting is to sensitize the stakeholders on the 2019 measles containing vaccine MCV2 introduction.
“We are introducing this vaccine because the measles first dose vaccine does not do enough in the elimination of measles,” she said.
Also, Dr Chinyere Orji, World Health Organizations Consultant, said an estimated 265 Nigerian children die daily as a result of measles.
She urged the federal government to strengthen routine immunization, strengthen measles surveillance, supplementary immunization activities and conduct measles case management.
The WHO consultant advised parents to visit any health center to take Measles Containing Vaccine(MCV2) in order to protect their children from measles.
“Administering measles vaccine at the right time has shown to reduce deaths associated with measles by 84 per cent,” she said.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that 17,000 cases of measles are recorded yearly with a case fatality rate ranging from 1.9-12.4 per cent.