Ghana making strides in child health protection – Survey
Ghana is making strides in child health protection in the area of immunization and vaccinations, required for every child at birth and before the first birthday.
A Multi Indicator Cluster Survey showed that 77 per cent of children aged 12-23 months were fully immunized before their first birthday and the coverage rate for all vaccination for children aged 12-23 months was 84 per cent whilst less than one per cent of children in Ghana had not received any vaccination.
The study, conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2011, was supported with financial and technical assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund, United States Agency for International Development, the United Nations Population Fund, Japan and the National Malaria Control Programme, to provide information on the situation of children.
The survey indicated that approximately 98 per cent of children aged 12 to 23 months received a BCG vaccination by their first birthday, 89 per cent were immunized against measles by their first birthday and 92 per cent received three doses of vaccinations against Diphtheria, Pertussis and tetanus.
It disclosed that 91 per cent of children aged 12 to 23 months had received three doses of polio vaccinations and 94 percent immunized against yellow fever.
According to the study, approximately three out of every four children, representing 74 per cent aged six to 59 months received a high dose of Vitamin A supplement but in the last six months prior to the survey showed a general decrease with age.
It is estimated that the decrease in the last six months occurred between 78 per cent of children aged six to 11 months and those aged 12 to 23 months.
On anaemia, the study showed that the overall prevalence of any anaemia in children aged six to 59 months was 57 per cent, a significant decline compared to 78 per cent in the Demographic Health Survey 2008 report.
The survey showed that children living in the urban areas had lower anaemia rates of 48 per cent as compared to 64 percent in children living in the rural areas.
The Millennium Development Goal 04 is to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015, immunization and vaccinations as well as the reduction of malnutrition, which results in anaemia had been identified to play a key part in that achievement.
Immunizations for instance had been reported to have saved the lives of millions of children in the three decades since the launch of the Expanded Programme on Immunization in 1974.
Worldwide it is estimated that there still some 27 million children were not attended to during routine immunization.
This failure, which can be attributed to several reasons from access to religious and cultural ideas, is said to have left more than two million deaths every year in children from vaccine-preventable diseases.