By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
Dr Janet Ekpenyong, Director General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has warned that it was very dangerous to ignore other diseases with full focus only on COVID-19.
She asserted that there were over a dozen of other vaccine-preventable diseases killing thousands of Nigerians especially children that have been completely ignored since the advent of novel COVID-19 adding that such indifference could spell doom for the health sector and the country as a whole.
Ekpenyong gave the warning at the weekend in Calabar during a media Orientation Workshop for 2020 Measles awareness campaign.
Her words:” COVID-19 has taken over the media space, everything is about the pandemic, once it’s 11pm everyone is waiting to hear the new figure, it’s time we begin to shift focus.
“There are other diseases and Campaign as well as health issues begging for attention. Too much focus on COVID-19 and indifference to other diseases is very dangerous, it’s time we shifted focus.
“It might interest you to know that malaria is still killing millions of people even more than COVID-19, Diarrhea, maternal mortality, a lot of women are dying every day, we can no longer afford to focus all our attention on the Pandemic alone, it is a dangerous move.
“It is on this note that we decided that we need to shift focus as well as attention to other things, and we decided to start the 2020 campaign against measles.
“Why we decided to do this is because we don’t want to have another outbreak If our focus is so much on COVID-19, and neglect other diseases, we might come down with other vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, and we don’t want that to happen at all in our state.
“The campaign this year is different because of social distancing, so we decided to leverage on the media to push the message forward and let the people know the importance of preventing measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases which immunization can prevent.
“In 2017 alone we had about 17,000 cases in Nigeria and it kills faster than COVID-19. We want to intensify our campaign and let the people know that PHCs are still very functional and open for service, we have also rescheduled our operations to deliver quality service to the people.
“There other diseases ravaging our children and killing our mothers which needs attention and our PHC’s are open and functional to attend to mothers and children to immunize and provide services to prevent other diseases other than COVID-19,” she said.