Over 6.9 million children under five years are expected to be vaccinated in the second round of the National Polio Vaccination Campaign (PVC) from yesterday, October 6 to October 9, 2022.
The round is a follow-up to an earlier exercise that administered the novel oral poliovirus type 2 (nOPV2) vaccine to the targeted children, nationwide.
The Director-General of Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagyeat a news conference in Accra on Tuesday said the entire campaign was to halt the local transmission of the circulating vaccine derived polio virus type 2, (cVDPV2), recorded in parts of the country.
“The vaccination would also maintain high population immunity, strengthen surveillance on polio disease and prevent further polio outbreaks in the country,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye explained that, although the first round of the polio vaccination in September yielded impressive results, health authorities were not resting on their oars until all targeted children were vaccinated.
“The initial target for the first round was 6.3 million children but after the vaccination, we realised we had vaccinated nearly 6.6 million children meaning, we had more children than targeted and we must build on this achievement to do more during the upcoming second round of the PVC so that no child is left behind,” he added.
Further, the Director-General advised parents and caregivers to ensure their children complete all vaccinations by age two as well as patronise child welfare clinics dotted across the country in order to fully vaccinate and protect their children against vaccine preventable diseases.
In a speech read on his behalf, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo underscored the need for enhanced polio surveillance to close the gap of the polio outbreak.
“WHO, the UN System in Ghana and other partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will continue to support the Government of Ghana to respond to public health emergencies and accompany Ghana on the road to achieving universal health coverage,” he said.
The Expanded Programme on Immunisation(EPI) Programme Manager, Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano recalled some challenges faced during the first round of the PVC and advised parents and caregivers to make their children available for the vaccines to kick out polio from the country.
“Some children were sent to the farms and couldn’t partake. Other parents also denied their wards because of some religious beliefs and did not see it as necessary while some house markings were washed away by heavy downpours,” he highlighted.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus and spreads from person to person through faecal routes and may multiply in the intestines from where it subsequently invades the nervous system causing paralysis, most often in the limbs.
The disease affects both children and adults, but children under five years are most at risk.
Some signs and symptoms of polio may include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck, pain and weakness in the limbs.
Treatment is mainly supportive and can be prevented through vaccination, improved sanitation and personal hygiene.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH