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2007.03.08
* UNICEF: Children take the lead in northern Nigeria’s immunization drive * 01 Mar 2007 Children are taking the lead in a major polio immunization drive in Nigeria. At this primary school, a teacher is passing around a form that will be used to collect the names of children who are eligible to receive vaccination against common childhood diseases. After school, 10-year-old Imrana comes home with his form, eager to start his new assignment. Imrana writes down children’s names and within half an hour, he is able to collect the names of at least 10 children, while informing them about the importance of being immunized. He also takes some of the children to a health post in his village so that they can get vaccinations against not only polio, but measles, hepatitis B, and diphtheria. Soundbite (Hausa), Imrana Musa, 10-year-old: “I have received full immunization, that’s why I am in good health. With support of my mother, I have adopted 10 children from my neighbourhood. I brought some of them here so that they can be immunized against childhood killer diseases.” With the help of children like Imrana, this round of polio vaccinations is aimed at reaching some 14.5 million children across 12 high-risk states in northern Nigeria. More than 11,800 health posts have been set up, so that children from each neighbourhood can all come and get free vaccination. To reach each and every child, vaccination teams are also going door-to-door to look for children and immunize them. Massive immunization efforts like this are key to eradicating polio in Nigeria, one of just four remaining polio-endemic countries in the world. Soundbite (English), Amina Mohammed-Baloni, UNICEF Project Officer on Immunization: “Nigeria currently has 1,116 polio cases, which accounts for about 56% of the global total. The importance of this campaign can not be overemphasized, because the momentum gain by the end of year with current immunization plus days has to sustained if there is going to be a break in transmission of polio case.” Later in the day, Imrana comes back to check on the children he has signed up. He needs to make sure that all of them are well protected from the killer diseases that can be so easily prevented with a simple vaccine.
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