In the past couple of months, reports of deaths due to measles have become commonplace in the media. The outbreak of the disease has assumed epidemic level, with virtually every state in the northern part of the country recording cases of infections. Fatalities have been reported in a number of the states.
The severity and extent of the outbreak appears to have taken health authorities by surprise.
The fact that this seems to have been confined to a region of the country would vindicate the assertion of the minister of state for health, Dr Mohammed Ali Pate, that parents should be blamed for not taking their children to be given the routine immunization jabs against childhood killer diseases, including measles.
Some health officials agree. Dr Mercy Iliya of the government-owned Gwamna Awam General Hospital in Kaduna recounted a similar experience. Dr Iliya noted that her interaction with nursing mothers and other parents showed that they seldom took their children to immunization centres to be vaccinated.
But she also attributed that reluctance to the frequent unavailability of the anti-measles vaccines, especially where they mattered most, the primary health care centres.
In fact, there are persistent reports of parents complaining that the measles vaccines were either not available, or had not been supplied in sufficient quantity to go round.
However, this is not the time to begin to apportion blame anyone. A post-mortem would unravel all that went wrong.Daily Trust also has an article on 19 children dying of measles in Kebbi state, while Vanguard has a report on 18 cases in Bauchi state.