The Anambra Government has confirmed the death of 14 children from measles outbreak in nine local government areas of the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, announced the figure at a Post Measles Outbreak Response news conference in Awka on Wednesday that no newer than 414 cases of measles were recorded in nine local government areas in the state.
The Commissioner listed the affected local government areas as Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Idemili North, Nnewi North, Onitsha North, Njikoka, and Oyi.
Obidike said, “In March, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) alerted us of Measles outbreak in nine LGAs in the state. We contacted the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to assist us curtail further spread of the disease, adding that the disease spread from nine LGAs to 13 LGAs but with the help of WHO, we swung into action and activated surveillance and our emergency response team in the affected LGAs and wards.
“Supports from the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children Emergency Fund helped the state to curtail the spread but 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 per cent,” he said.
He said a total of 19,609 unvaccinated children from age zero to 59 months had been vaccinated as a measure to tackle the desease, saying the surrounding communities of the nine local government areas were vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease.
Obidike noted, “We noticed that people living in clusters, poor environmental hygiene practices and poor uptake of vaccine were the other causes of the outbreak in the affected areas and identified the impact of COVID-19 which affected routine immunisation in the state in 2021 as the major reason for the outbreak.
“We will intensify social mobilisation to encourage residents to receive vaccination. We have activated routine immunisation in the state to prevent future outbreaks and have contacted the Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, to improve environmental hygiene and water supply in those affected areas, he said.
He described measles as a viral infection common among children under five years but easily preventable through administration of doses of vaccine.
Speaking, Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu announced that plans were underway to commence a standalone measles vaccination campaign in the state.