Prolonged shortage of childhood vaccines will affect Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme – President

President Nana Adoo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Wednesday said the shortage of childhood vaccines if prolonged will affect negatively Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme.

Delivering the State of the Nations Address (SONA) 2023, on the floor of parliament, he expressed worry over the shortage of childhood vaccines in the country.

He, therefore told Parliament that efforts were underway to ensure that vaccines would be procured immediately for all children.

“Mr Speaker, I must say, however, that the current shortage of some childhood vaccines in the country has concerned me greatly. This shortage, if prolonged, will affect negatively Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme, which has been recognised as one of the most successful in the world. The WHO has only recently expressed worry about a steady decline in measles vaccination coverage globally, because of the concentration on the fight against COVID-19.

“In accordance with our desire not to become part of this global trend, Government has taken steps to ensure that stocks of these vaccines are procured and supplied, as a matter of emergency. The Ghana Health Service has developed an elaborate programme to catch up on children who have missed their vaccinations immediately after stocks arrive,” he said.

“I want to encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure that eligible children are vaccinated, once this programme begins. No child should be denied access to vaccination. Mercifully, so far, not a single child has died as a result of the outbreak,” he added.

Reports have it that several parts of the country have been hit with a shortage of vaccines in the last few months despite response by the National Health Insurance Authority to the Health Committee of Parliament that over GH¢70 million was released for the procurement of the vaccines.

The Minority in Parliament Tuesday at a Press Conference described the shortage of vaccines in the country as a clear indication of the government’s inability.

According to the Caucus, despite the allocation of about GH¢72 million for the procurement of vaccines, the country had been hit with the outbreak of Measles since October 2022 due to the shortage of vaccines.

SONA is delivered in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which states that the President shall deliver a message on the SONA to Parliament at the start of each session and before the dissolution of Parliament.

It is a constitutional obligation and yearly tradition, wherein the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces reports on the status of the country, unveils the government’s agenda for the coming year, and proposes to Parliament certain legislative measures.

To that end, Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana imposes an obligation on Members of Parliament (MPs), the Speaker of Parliament and the Judiciary to receive the President’s SONA.

Source: GNA

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