Once while at Ankor Market in Eruwa, Oyo State with a team on community interaction with mothers about registering for antenatal and immunizing their babies, we came across a few women that surprised us.
One of the women was a young pregnant mother selling stuff in the market. We asked whether she had registered at the hospital for antenatal care and she said she didn’t have the time yet. She travels to the farm to bring goods to sell in the market and was just too busy. It was a thing of concern to my Abiye team(maternal and child health media education team) and I. So here we were in the middle of the market with all the ambiance of bargaining going on attempting to convince this woman to register herself and unborn child at the antenatal clinic. We did our best to educate her on the importance of antenatal care to having a healthy baby and safe delivery.
Moving further down in the market we met a nursing mother with her baby strapped to her back. She was there to buy some foodstuff. In our chat with her, we tried to find out if she had been taking her baby for his immunization doses. This mother responded that she didn’t believe in immunizing her children. To her, it was not necessary and she even feared that it might be harmful to her baby. We were flabbergasted at her “ignorance”. My thought was… “Do people still think like this at this age”? We soon found out that there were others like her in that same market and community.
Again we engaged her in a dialogue to educate her about the importance of immunizing her children to their wellbeing. I enlightened her about the fact that vaccines protect children from childhood diseases that could be fatal. This woman was busy smiling and shaking her head, it didn’t look like she would take our advice and there wasn’t much we could do about it.
Many others like these women whose stories I just Shared really need to be better educated.
It is easy to think that with all the campaign to create awareness about the safety net of immunizing babies and children, people would take it seriously. Unfortunately, there are still those who have a bias and are not properly informed. Community education is still very important and must continue.
As we mark another world Polio day today 24th October 2017, encourage every mother in your community to go immunize their babies to protect their lives and future. Polio is a crippling disease that is iireversible but can be prevented through immunization.
Encourage expectant mothers to also register for antenatal care where they are likely to have proper education about immunization services for their babies.
Adebisi Adetunji (C)