Over 4.5 million under five children to be immunized against polio

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is targeting to immunize about 4.5 million children below the age of five years against Polio Virus Type 2, under its Monovalent Oral Polio vaccine mass campaign.

The immunization exercise is set to be carried out in two rounds in 179 districts in eight regions of the country.

The first round would be running between September 10-13 and the second phase between October 8-10.

The regions are Central, Western, Western North, Volta, Ashanti, Eastern, Upper West, and Greater Accra Regions.

Dr Kwabena Sarpong, the Deputy Central Regional Director of Health in-charge of Public Health disclosed this at a press briefing in Cape Coast.

Explaining what has necessitated the campaign, Dr Sarpong indicated that two events of the polio virus type 2 were confirmed in Tamale and Agbogbloshie in the Northern and Greater Accra Regions respectively in July/August 2019 during routine surveillance for polio cases and events.

Subsequently, he said more surveillance events and cases were detected and confirmed in 11 regions with about 30 human cases and 115 routine surveillance events have been confirmed so far in the country.

The events, he explained were samples taken from sewage or feces, which tested positive of the polio virus.

“Just one confirmed case or event is alarming “, Dr Sarpong warned.

This, he said, had triggered the public health responses of a mass vaccination campaign to break the transmission process and prevent further outbreak to safeguard the health of children in the Country.

“Ghana was certified polio free in 2007 and immediately after that certification, it recorded some imported cases in 2008. Then, we worked so hard as a country, improved on immunization against polio for all our children and we were again certified polio free in 2015”, he said.

Dr Sarpong said children under five needed to be vaccinated to break the increasing population immunity against the virus.

He said there will be a house-to-house mass vaccination with strict adherence to the COVID-19 health protocols.

Additionally, immunization centres would be established in all health facilities and other areas to ensure every child under five years was not left out and implored parents and guardians to open up their homes for the immunization exercise.

Dr Sarpong encouraged parents and caregivers to report to the nearest health facility within 24 hours, any child under fifteen years who develop sudden paralysis.

Giving an update of the COVID-19 situation in the region, Dr Akosua Owusu Sarpong, Regional Director of Health Services said the region had so far recorded 1,878 with only 39 active cases.

She said 16 of the 22 districts in the region had no active COVID-19 cases and encouraged people to continue to adhere to the preventive health protocols to protect and prevent themselves from getting the disease.

She said an observational study on the wearing of face masks revealed that 44.8 percent of the public wore the masks in the region while social distancing was also disregarded.

“These are practices that promote the spread of the COVID-19 and, therefore, we need to do more to ensure that we do not have a spike”, she advised.

Source: GNA

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