2015 Polio immunisation begins
A three -day house to house immunisation exercise to cover children from birth to five years, targeting 108 selected low-performing districts across the country, began on Thursday, October 22.
As part of the programme, Vitamin A capsules would also be given to children above six months to boost their immune system and ensure good eyesight.
Speaking at the national launch of the exercise in Accra, the Minister of Health, Dr Alex Segbefia noted that Ghana had not recorded any polio case since 2008.
Dr Segbefia, whose speech was read on his behalf by the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr Afisah Zakariah, therefore called on traditional leaders, district assemblies, parents and the general public to complement government’s efforts to sustain the fight against this global health challenge.
Dr Segbefia said that immunisation had been touted as the best public health intervention ever, preventing over two million childhood deaths and preventing even a higher number of disabilities annually.
The WHO representative to Ghana, Dr Prosper Tumusiime, for his part, commended Ghana for her giant stride in the fight against polio.
Dr Tumusiime said no country in Africa had recorded any polio virus so far in 2015.
“Globally, there have been only 48 cases reported in 2015 as compared to 202 cases in 2014. The 48 wild polio cases reported in 2015 are all from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Eastern Mediterranean region” he stated.
Ghana, he said, would join Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Mali, to conduct a synchronised polio vaccination campaign targeting 28 million children aged 0-59 months in all communities and along the borders with neighbouring countries.
The Acting Director General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), Dr Samuel Akoriyea Kaba, cautioned the public against cultural and religious beliefs that prevented some parents from immunising their children, adding that polio could have an irreparable damage on affected children.
Dr Kaba indicated that the GHS would intensify evaluation campaigns to track the progress of this year’s vaccination and urged parents to report to the nearest health facility if their children developed any sudden paralysis.
He said the GHS hoped to vaccinate over two million children this year.