“Ghana Is Not Fully Protected From Polio” – Ghana Health Service

polioGhana Health Service and its associated partners have expressed concern over the country’s inability of reach every child under the age of five with polio vaccines in the past years.

Though the country has not recorded any case of polio since 2008, experts say it risks contracting the disease if all under five children are not vaccinated.

To address this challenge, Ghana has joined other West African countries to embark on nationwide campaigns to vaccinate all children under the age of five.

Targeting a total of 2.8 million children, this month’s exercise will be carried out in 108 districts across the country with over 22,400 volunteers trained to carryout the campaign.

This year’s vaccination program starts on Thursday 22nd October to Saturday 24th October, 2015.

Speaking at the launch of the 2015 sub-national immunization days against polio campaign in Accra, Programs Manager of the Expanded Program on Immunization, Dr. George Bonsu said in spite of Ghana’s high national coverage of about ninety percent, there are records of some low performing districts who achieve less than eighty percent total coverage of immunization.

“Although we have a very high coverage, we are still having pockets of areas of low protection. The circulation of polio virus somewhere in Afghanistan and Pakistan and transmission is a threat to the whole world. We cannot rest as a country and be convinced that polio is gone,” Dr. Bonsu said.

He added that polio has no cure but could be prevented from vaccinations and each child needs about 10-15 doses to be protected.

Targeting a total of 2.8 million children under age five, this month’s exercise will be carried out in 108 districts across the country with over 22,400 volunteers trained to undertake the exercise.

This year’s vaccination program starts on Thursday 22nd October to Saturday 24th October, 2015.

In a statement read on his behalf by the Director of Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Health, Ms. Afisa Zakaria, the Health Minister, Hon. Alex Segbefia called on parents to continue with the routine vaccination exercise after the campaign to ensure their children receive the required 12 doses to fully protect them.

UNICEF Ghana Country Representative Prosper Tsumisini who spoke on behalf of the World Health Organization expressed hope that the world would be able to eradicate polio soon if vaccination programs are effectively carried out to reach all children.

Globally, 48 cases of polio have so far been reported this year, with all cases recorded in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Ghana’s West African neighbour Nigeria was until recently among the list of countries that had endemic polio.

From October 1996 to date Ghana has conducted 49 vaccination campaigns against polio.

UNICEF, WHO, Rotary Club International, Ministry of Health and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are funding the campaign.

 

 

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Credit: Jonas Nyabor/233livenews

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