By Ifeanyi Okonkwo
Anambra State government says it has vaccinated about 5.5 million residents against yellow fever during the 10-day campaign against the disease in the state.
Vincent Okpala, the state’s commissioner for health, made the disclosure during the budget defence of the ministry before the state’s House Committee on Health in Awka.
Mr Okpala said that the vaccination which began on October 30, took place in 19 local government areas (LGAs) of the state, with the exception of Anambra West and Ayamelum LGAs due to flood.
He said that the vaccinators visited public health facilities, educational institutions, churches and village squares, to ensure wide coverage.
“In two weeks, we have been able to vaccinate about 5.5 million residents in 19 out of the 21 LGAs in Anambra.
”We were not able to carry out vaccination in two LGAs – Anambra West and Ayamelum LGAs – due to flooding problems, but we began vaccination there on Monday, November 16.
“Our target is to vaccinate about six million residents and we hope to achieve that by the end of the exercise,” he said.
“The commissioner lamented that the ministry had so far recorded only about 15 per cent budget performance for 2020.”
“The year 2020 has not been a great year for the ministry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry was not able to achieve so much as planned.
“We could not establish the trauma centre, cancer care centre and the drone facility for hospitals in the hinterlands as budgeted for,” he said.
“On COVID-19, Mr Okpala said that as of November 14, the state had carried out 7,224 tests with 3.9 per cent positivity rate, 285 confirmed cases, 266 discharged patients, and 19 deaths”.
The commissioner said that the ministry budgeted N200 million for malaria control programmes.
“The sum of N100 million was budgeted for it in 2020 but it was not enough to address the malaria burden in the state.
“This prompted the budget increase to N200 million this year to ensure Anambra is free from malaria,’’ he said.
An analysis of this year’s budget for some health programmes showed that the ministry hoped to spend about N20 million on tuberculosis and leprosy control programmes.
It budgeted N400 million for the rehabilitation and re-equipment of the general hospitals as well as N50 million for HIV/AIDs control programmes.
The ministry also budgeted N500 million for the construction of a stand-alone micro-trauma centre, ‘N50 million for family planning programmes’ and N20 million for zero hepatitis programme.
Mr Okpala said that if the N6.8 billion budget for health in the 2021 fiscal year was approved, it would assist the ministry make up for lost grounds.
In his remarks, Carter Umeh, chairperson, Anambra House Committee on Health, urged the ministry to ‘ensure continual public enlightenment on COVID-19’ to prevent a resurgence of the disease.