Group Condemns Selling Polio Vaccines in Open Markets in Onitsha

August 21, 2011- Group Condemns Selling Polio Vaccines in Open Markets in Onitsha

Doctors under the aegis of Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) have raised alarm over the sale of vaccines in open markets in Onitsha, Anambra.

“They (vaccines) are not preserved in the cold chain necessary to maintain their potency and are therefore either just impotent or pure poison,” Dr Jide Onyekwelu said.

Onyekwelu is the Chairman, AGPMPN Anambra chapter; an affiliate of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) spoke on Saturday in Abagana near Awka.

He enumerated the damages the seven-month old strike of government-employed doctors has done to healthcare delivery in the state, saying that quacks parading as homeopathic practitioners, trado-medicals and spiritual healers “now go to the open markets to buy vaccines and administer same to children without due procedure especially in the hinterlands.”

He said that children were being exposed to “vaccine-preventable six child-killer diseases” such as polio, tetanus, measles, diphtheria, tuberculosis (TB) and whooping cough.

Onyekwelu said that the situation had led to multi-drug resistant TBs and drug resistant HIV; adding that patients receiving free drugs on those ailments had been denied the drugs and necessary medical support for months.

He said that women could not accessed cheap and qualitative health services from the primary healthcare centres in the hinterlands.

“Some of these preventable diseases, when they occur will leave consequences that will make health not easily restored,” he said. “Examples are poliomyelitis and measles encephalopathy. We at AGPMPN believe that the state government has allowed this impasse to last for so long because it has not thought of the long term consequences.

“We cannot be seen as aiding any system that erodes our healthcare delivery system. We cannot be allies with any system that worsens the health of our people.

“We strongly condemn the prolonged strike in Anambra State and urgently and unequivocally ask His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, to decisively wade into this crisis immediately.”

The doctors are demanding full implementation of the Consolidated Medical Employee Salary Structure (CONMESS); while the Anambra government says it can only pay 50 per cent of it.

The striking doctors maintained that they would not resume work until 100 per cent or at least 90 per cent of their demand was met as obtainable in other states in the South-East and the country in Daily Times