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989,558 children vaccinated against polio in Gt Accra

About 989,558 children under five years, in the Greater Accra Region, have been vaccinated, following the polio virus outbreak in Agbogbloshie last month.

This represent 100.3per cent coverage as the estimated eligible children targeted during the emergency vaccination was pegged at 988, 615 by the Ghana Health Service.

The Regional Director of Health Service, Dr Charity Sarpong, disclosed this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday in Accra.

She said, all the 29 districts within the capital had been vaccinated, following the Polio Outbreak Reactive Vaccination (PORV) exercise carried in homes, schools, market centres and churches.

Dr Sarpong explained, the PORV team was made up of medical practitioners and some voluntary individuals who were trained to embarked on the exercise to prevent the disease from spreading.

She noted that, the discovery of the disease on August 13, by the surveillance medical team of the Ghana Health Service, compelled them to alert the general public and the various health facilities.

“The surveillance of the polio virus was established in 2016 to run environmental surveillance once every four weeks to ensure there is no polio virus in the system. Samples from the exercise were taken to the Noguchi Memorial for Medical Research for examinations,” she said.

Dr Sarpong said, currently, there were 10 environmental surveillance sites, mentioning two sited in the Eastern Region, four in the Greater Accra Region, two in Northern and two in the Volta Region.

She mentioned that some of the challenges encountered during the emergency vaccination were refusal by some heads of educational centres who claimed parents had to be noted before vaccinating the children.

Dr Sarpong said, though this hinders the exercise due to inadequate time, most of the children received their vaccination at home and hospitals.

She called on parents to look out for signs and symptoms of the disease for immediate treatments.

“Signs and symptoms of polio may include fever, fatigue, sore throat, headache, vomiting, and stiffness or pain at the back, neck, leg or arm. Polio vaccines given multiple times could protect a child for life, as the vaccines are safe, effective and free,” she said.

BY BERNARD BENGHAN                

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