Polio immunization to start October 27

The Ghana Health Service has announced that the next National Immunisation Days (NIDs) Campaign Against Polio in all the 10 Regions starts from Thursday, October 27 to Sunday October 30.

It said the strategy would be house-to-house and the exercise would be synchronized with other countries in the Sub-Region to ensure that all children under the age of five received the required doses of the polio vaccines in addition to Vitamin “A” supplements.

The NIDs are organized by the Service with support from the WHO, UNICEF, Centre for Disease Control, Ghana National Polio Plus Committee (GNPPC), of Rotary International and JICA to ensure total eradication of the crippling disease globally.

Mr Winfred A. Mensah, Chairman of the GNPPC of Rotary International, at a media briefing to mark World Polio Day, which falls on October 24 annually, said it was crucial that Ghana maintained the gains made so far in polio eradication efforts by preventing the importation of  the wild polio virus (WPV) into the country.

In 2007, he said, Ghana was declared a provisionally Polio Free Country.

Every three years, a country is assessed to determine whether there have been any reported cases of polio or not. For five consecutive years, Ghana did not record any cases of wild polio.

However, in August 2008 to November 2008, eight cases of wild polio virus were reported in the Northern Region, but they were immediately contained by organizing special NIDs.

Mr Mensah said in spite of efforts to eradicate the disease in the Sub-region, some countries were still vulnerable with Cote d’Ivoire recording 35 cases, Mali-34, Guinea-nine, Nigeria-two, Burkina Faso-two and Niger-two, respectively, as at the end of September 2011.

He said with the recent statistics of outbreaks in the Sub-region, it was critical to strengthen collaboration to synchronise the campaign in all countries to prevent the transportation of cases into other countries.

He said to date the Rotary Foundation had contributed about $6.4 million through the GNPPC to complement the government’s polio eradication efforts.

Dr Kwadwo Antwi Agyei, Programme Manager for Expanded Programme on Immunisation, of the Ghana Health Service, urged parents, teachers, community leaders and the public to endeavour to get every child under five years immunized when the campaign opens.

Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus. It is mainly transmitted through contact with stool from infected persons and less commonly through contact with respiratory droplets or saliva.

It usually causes lameness in the arms, legs or upper parts of the body and affects the nerves and muscles of the body causing paralysis.

Source: GNA

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