Ghana aims to stop local transmission of polio virus type 2 with the commencement polio immunization campaign across the country starting September 1 to 4, 2022.
A second round of the vaccination campaign will start on October 6 to 9, 2022.
The Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemag-Manu, disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf on Wednesday at the launch of the 2022 National Polio Immunization Days Campaign in Accra with the theme: kick polio out of Ghana, vaccinate your child now.
He said the campaign was also designed to maintain population immunity, strengthen surveillance on polio and prevent further polio outbreaks in the country.
Mr Agyemag-Manu announced that Ghana has made incredible progress toward polio eradication, reducing polio cases by 99.9% in the last 30 years.
According to the Minister, through robust disease surveillance, the Ghana Health Services received notification of positive events and a case of polio from environmental sites in the Northern and Savannah Regions.
He stated that as a result of those current polio events, the GHS and partners (WHO, CDC UNICEF) organized a systematic risk assessment and the results showed the whole country was prone to high levels of local transmission of polio virus, adding that, “As you know, polio viruses travel far and fast.”
Mr Agyemag-Manu indicated that the polio vaccination exercise would be mainly house to house and would be mobile terms and other designated static sites to serve the target population.
He urged caregivers of children under five years to look out for the vaccination teams and ensure that their children are vaccinated. He also encouraged the public to continue to observe improved personal and good sanitation practices.
On his part, the Deputy Director General of Ghana Health Service Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu said through immunization the incidence of polio has decreased.
He added that “Some of us can bear witness that now when you go round our primary schools you no longer see children who have been paralyzed. Formally, it was quite common in schools at least you will see one child with a withered limp but thanks to the vaccination, this is a thing of the past.
“It is important to note however that the fight against polio in Africa is not over, despite the worldwide efforts, two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan remain endemic, until polio transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio,” he added.
The WHO representative to Ghana, Francis Chisaka Kasolo, recounted that in 1998, WHO adopted a resolution that called for the global eradication of polio virus and through this initiative, the global cases of polio have decreased from an estimated 350,000 cases to only two in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, a remarkable public health achievement.
He stated that through technological advancement, the Novel Oral Polio Type 2 Vaccine has been tested and proven to be a game changer in fighting against polio and therefore encouraged the government to ensure continued support for immunization programmes and sustain a high level of vaccine reach.
The Expanded Programme Manager on Immunisation, Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, said the immunization targets over 6 million children in 261 districts nationwide who are under five years of age.
Evelyn Harvey & Priscilla Nimako, ISD
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