Anambra State Government has confirmed the death of 14 children, following the outbreak of measles in nine local councils of the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike, made the revelation, yesterday, in Awka, at a Post Measles Outbreak Response news conference in collaboration with the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency, adding that the state had recorded 414 cases.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on March 4, registered the outbreak of measles in eight states of the federation, namely: Jigawa, Anambra, Katsina, Rivers, Enugu, Delta, Osun and Sokoto, from which 908 suspected cases had been reported so far.
Obidike said that the nine councils affected include: Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Onitsha North, Njikoka, and Oyi.
He recalled that the NCDC alerted the state of the measles outbreak in the nine local councils in March, adding that they contacted the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to assist curtail further spread of the disease.
He said: “The disease spread from nine to 13 local councils, but with the help of WHO, we swung into action, activated surveillance and dispatched our emergency response team to the affected councils and wards.
“Unfortunately, we recorded case fatalities. We lost about 14 children to the measles outbreak out of 414 cases we had. It is something we need to be mindful of because the case fatality is high, about 48 percent.”
Obidike also disclosed that a total of 19,609 children from age zero to 59 months, who had not been vaccinated in the last six months, were vaccinated, maintaining those surrounding communities of the nine local councils were also vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease.
He listed COVID-19, people living in clusters, poor environmental hygiene practices, and poor uptake of vaccines as major reasons for the outbreak in the affected areas.
He said that the ministry has contacted the ministries of Environment, Power, and Water Resources to improve environmental hygiene and water supply in those affected areas, adding that they will also intensify social mobilization to encourage residents to receive the vaccination.
Speaking at the event, Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, disclosed that plans are underway to commence a standalone measles vaccination campaign, which will cover all the 21 councils of the state.