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10,000 EKITI CHILDREN RISK POLIO, WHOOPING COUGH, OTHER DISEASES

By Lere Olayinka
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Notwithstanding the planned provision of N4.8 billion by the Federal Government to fight polio in the country next year, over 10,000 children in Ekiti State from the day of birth to five years are likely to suffer from polio, whooping coughs and other killer diseases as Primary Health saddled with the responsibilities of immunising the children against these diseases have been shutdown since August, this year.

Former governor of the State, Chief Segun Oni, who made this known in a release issued by today, his Media Aide, Lere Olayinka said he was compelled to once again raise this alarm because the State government appeared to have left the children to their fate, having allowed the Health workers' strike to go on for over two months.

The former governor said it was worrisome that primary health workers, whose services are more important to the well-being of the people, could be allowed to be on strike for more than two months.

“Before we left government, polio had already been eradicated from the State. Ekiti was number one in Life Expectancy at Birth (years) and number 10 in overall Human Development in Nigeria in 2009 according to UNDP Human Development Report Nigeria 2008 – 2009.

“Now with our children not being immunised against polio and other deadly diseases, I am afraid that we stand the risk of return of the diseases, especially polio to the State and this will be painful.

“It will be painful because our children, who are the future of the State, will be made to suffer for the insensitivity of government to the plight of the health workers.

“On October 18, exactly twelve days ago, I raised the alarm that parents in Ekiti were already taking their children to neighbouring States of Ondo and Kogi for immunisation because there were no health workers to carry out the immunisation exercise, in spite of the availability of vaccines.

“Some of our mothers, who took their children to Ita-Ogbolu were told to wait until children from Ondo State are attended to before our children could be immunised.

“Therefore, in the interest of our children and the future of Ekitiland, I am once again appealing to the State government and the striking health workers to please save the lives of our children by resolving whatever dispute that is responsible for the strike.

“Well-meaning Ekiti indigenes and Nigerians are also urged to wade into the industrial crises, with a view to resolving it without further delay.