Following the award of N10 million cash prize to the best-performing local government areas for immunisation coverage in Edo State, several local government areas in state have stepped up efforts to get more children immunised in their vicinities to clinch the next batch of prizes.
Checks at different local council secretariats revealed that health teams are being mobilised by local government officials to be dispatched to rural communities, where sensitisation exercises have been scaled up since late last week.
After the last phase of the immunisation exercise which lasted from January to September this year, three local governments came tops in performance, according to the state government.
In recognition of their diligence and the integrity of the exercise, the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who had promised to reward local councils with the highest rates of immunisation coverage, dolled N10m cash prizes to them.
Akoko Edo Local Government Area, which came first with 85.5 percent immunisation coverage, received N5 million; Estako Central LGA, came second and got reward of N3 million while Esan Central took third place and got N2 million.
Officials at Oredo Local Government Area, the most populated local council in Edo State, have mobilised resources to ensure that its superior numerical advantage is fully harnessed.
“Prizes like that should ordinarily come to places like this where there is large population. But we missed out because others obviously took the job more seriously. Now, we are determined to not just get more children immunised, we want to ensure that it is as comprehensive as is humanly possible,” one of the health workers said.
At Egor Local Government Council, where the cash prizes were doled out last week, government health workers are scaling up efforts on strategies to cover more communities and wards.
“It was an eye opener when the governor came and announced that those three local governments are going home with millions of naira. For us, it is an encouragement to step up efforts. We need to do more, and we are devising means to do that already. We would ensure that more children get immunised by working closely with those in the villages,” a health official at the secretariat said.
The fervour is building in other local government areas in Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial Districts, and many officials have taken the task as a personal duty to see that every child in their vicinity is duly vaccinated.