African countries urged to strengthen routine immunization to keep polio away

Nana Yaa Sereboe, Chairperson of the National Polio Plus Committee, has stressed the need to strengthen routine immunization in Africa to keep away wild polio virus infection on the continent.

She said though Africa had since August this year, been declared free of wild polio virus, there was the need to do more to prevent the poliomyelitis virus from emerging again on the continent.

Nana Yaa Sereboe, who is also the past Assistant Governor of Rotary District 9102, was speaking at this year’s World Polio Day Celebration organized by the club, in Kumasi.

This year’s celebration was on the theme: “End Polio Now” and it was also used to unveil a giant billboard with the image of Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, indicating how close Ghana is to ending polio.

Nana Yaa Sereboe, indicated that though the declaration of Africa as being free of the virus was an achievement in public health, there was the need to strengthen and prioritize surveillance and education campaigns since Afghanistan and Pakistan continued to record cases of wild polio virus.

Rotarians, she noted, had contributed nearly $900 million towards polio eradication in Africa, adding that these funds had allowed Rotary to issue polio drug grants, awareness campaigns, national immunization days, and polio surveillance, among others.

This, according to her, had helped reduce the number of polio cases by 99.9 per cent, adding that, more than 2.5 billion children had been vaccinated on the African continent.

Again, more than nine billion doses of oral polio vaccines have been provided throughout the Africa sub-Region, preventing an estimated 1.8 million cases of paralysis.

Nana Yaa Sereboe said the Rotary Foundation had supported the Ghana Health Service to build a cold storage facility to help the government’s efforts in fighting polio virus.

She indicated that vaccination of children against polio was more critical especially, in this COVID-19 pandemic era.

Dr Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunization at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) urged parents to take child welfare clinics seriously to ensure children benefited from all immunization and vaccinations due them.

He said the Ghana Health Service and the Rotary Foundation would continue to strengthen partnerships to vaccinate Ghanaian children to keep away any circulating virus in the country.

Madam Yvonne Kumoji Darko, the District Governor for Rotary District 9102 encouraged Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Niger, which formed the District, to strengthen their stance on the eradication of the polio virus from their countries.

She said Rotary had been working in the last three decades to eradicate polio and helping bring relief to the marginalized in the society, noting that, in the era of COVID-19, Rotarians in Ghana had contributed several thousands of dollars in the acquisition of personal protective equipment for health facilities and personnel.

At the event, Mr. Victor Yaw Asante, District Governor designate and Managing Director of First Bank Nigeria, presented a cheque of GH₵20,000.00 to support the fight against polio in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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