Campaign against polio launched
Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, has called on the district assemblies, stakeholders and the public to assist in this year’s polio campaign to save the lives of children and prevent them from disability.
In a speech read on his behalf, he said although the country had made much strides to end the fight against polio, it cannot be complacent and relent in the efforts made as far as the disease is concerned.
Mr Segbefia said it should rather be a wake-up call and the responsibility of government, civil society groups and parents to ensure that children and babies under age five are free from polio and vaccine preventable diseases.
The minister said this at the launch of the 2015 Sub-national immunisation day campaign against polio in Accra to ensure all children under the stipulated age are properly immunised.
The theme: “Kick Polio out of Ghana for Good life: Vaccinate your child,” is to inform parents on the need to immunise their children for a healthy living and for the upbringing of good future leaders.
The campaign which starts on October 22 to 24 October is to help eradicate polio in the districts if not completely and ensure that no child dies or suffers from the disease.
Mr Segbefia said aside the trained health workers and volunteers administering the two dose vaccines to babies and children below age five, vitamin A capsules would also be given to children who are above six months to boast their immune system for good eye sight.
He said access to safe vaccines is the only one of the myriads of strategies for preventing and controlling diseases and promoting health among children.
It is therefore important to provide children with good food, potable water, adequate sanitation and sound education by government to be able to achieve this.
Dr George Bonsu, Programme Manager, Polio Eradication Initiatives, Ghana Health Service added that immunisation has touted as the best public health intervention ever which has prevented more than two million childhood deaths and a higher number of disabilities annually.
“When we save a child, we have saved the next architect, doctor, president, engineer among others because they are the future leaders of this great nation.”
It is thus important for the collective contributions of all especially chiefs and queen mothers to ensure every child in the communities get immunized to be able to overcome this health challenges, he said.
He said this year’s campaign forms the 50th vaccination campaign being organised and it has proven to be the antidote for eradicating polio in the world hence the need for parents to immunise their children because polio still remain everywhere and anywhere and could affect children when you least expect it.
He also advised parents and guardians to continue with a routine immunisation exercise after the campaign to contain the virus, should it occur locally or be imported.
Dr Prosper Tumusiime, UNICEF and United Nations representative commended Ghana and all stakeholders in the polio eradication initiative and achieving routine vaccination coverage of 90 per cent at national level over the years.
He said even though the main strategy is house to house, efforts must be made to reach all children who may be found in all other places outside the home such as schools, markets, lorry parks among others, saying “there should be no barrier to this exercise because the vaccine is free and safe”.
He called on the service providers to deliver quality service and document best practices from the campaign as UNICEF is committed to provide adequate support for the success of the programme.
“It is interesting to note that we are getting close to eradicating polio as envisaged and with little more effort, we shall cross the bridge.”