THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday began a five-day free medical outreach for women and children in seven local government areas ravaged by flooding in Anambra in 2022.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was large turnout of women and children at one of the outreach centres in Okpoko, Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA), of the state.
Health workers were also seen administering COVID-19 vaccine to adults who have not been vaccinated and immunisation to babies from zero to two years.
Mrs Modesta Chukwuneke, Local Immunisation Officer for Ogbaru LGA, attributed the large turnout recorded at the centre to the aggressive sensitisation carried out.
“We are not surprised with the large turnout of women and children who are here to receive the medical services.
“In collaboration with the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency, we engaged town announcers to inform women about the exercise, especially those at the hard-to-reach areas.
“Many children missed their routine immunisation because their parents were forced to relocate during the 2022 flooding. So, the intervention programme is an opportunity to catch up.
“Besides, we have enough vaccines that can take care of about 2,000 children,” she said.
Chukwuneke identified accessibility to hard-to-reach and riverine areas as the major challenge affecting the exercise.
“One of the challenges we have is that some of the communities are difficult to access. Being a riverine area, the terrain is so bad that even motorcycles cannot get to some places except you trek.
“But we must take the programme to those areas within the period of this outreach because we notice that many mothers have missed their children’s routine immunisation,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs Clementina Obika, Health Officer in charge of Okpoko Ward 2, decried some women’s nonchalant attitudes toward the immunisation of their children.
Obika, however, urged mothers to take advantage of the exercise to meet up with their children’s routine immunisation.
“Some mothers still feel unconcerned and do not follow immunisation procedure religiously for one reason or another. This is why some children miss their immunisation.
“The children who missed their doses will get all of them accordingly during this outreach.
“They will also be given pluses as a way of encouraging their mothers,” she added.
A beneficiary, Mrs Eberechukwu Obiajunwa, a mother of five, appreciated UNICEF for prioritising their health needs by extending the free healthcare services to her community.(NAN)