By Shuaibu Tatu
The Kebbi State Government on Monday suspended the polio immunisation exercise meant to commence across the 225 wards of its 21 local government areas due to lack of marker pens.
The National Polio Immunisation (NPI) Manager for Birnin-Kebbi Local Government, Alhaji Bello Umar, confirmed the suspension in an interview with newsmen after the flag-off of the exercise at the Deputy Governor’s residence in Kebbi.
Umar said that the commencement of the exercise had been shifted to Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We are likely to receive the marker pens probably by Tuesday.
“If it comes, we will commence the distribution of the vaccines on Wednesday while immunization proper will kick-off on Thursday this week.
“However, all necessary materials to embark on the polio immunisation exercise are on ground, it is only the maker pens that are not available.”
The Commissioner of Health, Alhaji Umar Kambaza, who also confirmed the suspension of the exercise, said that the markers would be available soon.
He said that the exercise targeted one million children across the 225 wards in the state and would last for four days.
Kambaza said: “after the flag-off, I conducted inquiries in some of the local governments in the state such as Aliero, Jega, Yauri, Birnin-Kebbi and Shanga.
“They all confirmed that the polio immunisation exercise had been postponed to Thursday for the simple reason of lack of marker pens to identify any child who has been immunised’’.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Col. Samaila Dabai (rtd), who flagged-off the exercise with his children, said the campaign was very important to the state government.
According to him, this was to ensure that newborns to five years old children are immunised against polio.
Dabai said the reason for the flagged-off at his residence was to enable him start the exercise with his children.
The deputy governor said: “if polio immunisation is harmful I will not administer it on my blood children. So all the rumours about polio vaccine is not true’’.