Following the ongoing vaccination exercise against Human Papilloma Virus, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Sunday that not less than 400,000 girls between the ages of 9 to 14 are expected to get vaccinated in Bauchi state.
The Health Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Emmmanuel Emedo who made this known while speaking to Journalists on the exercise, explained that the vaccine is going to protect the girls against cervical cancer when they get to the reproductive age.
“It is therefore very important that they are allowed to receive the vaccine. We are actually monitoring the campaign across all the 20 Local Government Areas of Bauchi state and we have personnel that are doing the monitoring”, he added.
According to him, the personnel include officials of the state government, UNICEF, World Health Organisation and all other partners in the field.
Dr. Emmmanuel Emedo further said personnel from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are also supporting the exercise on the field and that the exercise is going on smoothly.
“The reports we are getting is that, there is impressive turnout across the entire state and this has to do with the level of preparedness”, Dr. Emmanuel stated.
According to him, the UNICEF’s series of engagements before the launching of the campaign contributed immensely to impressive turn out.
“We anticipated, given the context of where we are working that we needed to prepare adequately by collaborating with all the relevant stakeholders, more importantly the parents and caregivers at home, the schools where we finds the girls within the age group.”
“We prepared them by informing them adequately about the vaccine”, Dr. Emmanuel added.
While noting that the UNICEF had about three weeks of preparation before the vaccination exercise, said it is not surprising that the exercise getting massive turnout.
“More importantly, we have engaged the Youths themselves to pass the information, educate their peers and to mobilise them for the campaign”, he said.
The UNICEF Health Specialist added that, “We equally used mothers. In Bauchi state, we have what we call Mama2Mama support group which are women in their various communities who have been vigorously trained by UNICEF and used to mobilise their peers, children and all population for health services.”
He said: “We have a total of 6,450 women across the 323 Wards in Bauchi state who have been engaged for mobilisation of girls for this particular campaign.”
Dr Emmanuel said that the UNICEF is also working with both the traditional and religious leaders to reach households and to convince people to understand the importance of the vaccine.
On the refusal of some parents not to allow their girl children to take the vaccine, he said that there are Committees set at all the Wards across the state saddled with the responsibilities of reviewing the exercise on a daily basis and take steps to resolve all issues relating to non compliance.