The Plateau Government on Friday lamented what it called the diversion of people’s attention from the devastating effects of the deadly Measles disease to COVID-19 in the state.
Mrs Jerisha Kakwi, State Health Educator, Plateau State Primary Health Care Board, made the statement during a parley with newsmen on Measles Awareness held at the Board’s office.
Kakwi explained that a lot of attention had been centred on COVID-19 pandemic with less attention given to other killer diseases such as Measles, Malaria and Poliomyelitis with their ravaging effects.
“All we want the people to know is that we are likely to have a high rate of measles in our communities with its devastating effects, which must be checked with all seriousness.
“The State Government has been doing a lot in the area of providing vaccines with the assistance of UNICEF, World Health Organisation (WHO) and others,” she said.
Warning on the disease, Kakwi said that measles, a dangerous viral infection, could spread through the air from respiratory droplets and small aerosol particles.
She said that aside death, measles could cause deafness, blindness, brain damage and pneumonia and could spread from person to person.
According to her, there is no specific treatment for measles, but that the best way was to be protected against it, especially immunizing children at birth, six weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, nine months and 15 months.
“Routine immunization is the most effective way to protect our children against measles and other diseases that vaccines can prevent.
“When a child shows the signs of measles which include red/watery eyes, high fever, cough, loss of appetite, widespread rashes etc, parents should rush him/her to the nearest healthcare centre for immediate attention,” she advised.
The education officer also warned adults to also be careful because they too could be infected with measles, once the body immunity was very low.
She recommended that people should eat good food to boost their body immunity, keep clean and ventilated environment to prevent being infected.
Also speaking, Mrs Jacdonmi Gbumemi, UNICEF Consultant, Plateau, debunked the insinuation that everybody must contract measles either at childhood or adulthood.
Gbumemi, who also decried the neglect of the measles by the authorities and the populace, warned, “There’s a likelihood that our indices would soon be in red.”
She called on the people not to be afraid of taking any vaccine no matter its side effects, “because what is important is to be alive first and not the side effects which will surely go with time.”
She urged parents to see every child as his/hers and assured them that vaccines for all child killer diseases were available and should go to any health facility for the vaccines which were free, safe and potent.