More than 173,690 children under five years in the Upper West Region will be vaccinated against the poliomyelitis virus from September 10 to 13, 2020 by the Ghana Health Service and its partners.
The vaccination, which will take place in all 11 municipal and district assemblies in the region, involves the new polio vaccine that has been developed to counter the new strain of poliomyelitis virus attacking children in the country.
Briefing the media about the exercise in Wa on Monday, the Acting Regional Director for health services, Dr Damien Punguyire, stated that the main aim of the immunisation was to stop local transmission of poliovirus type two and maintain a high population immunity.
“We also seek to strengthen surveillance on polio disease and prevent further polio outbreaks in the country,” he stated, adding that poliomyelitis was an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus and mostly affected children under five years of age.
The Director explained that the disease was caused by contaminated food or water injected into children and could cause weakness in the lower limbs such that it could render its victims paralysed.
“After being certified a polio-free state in 2015, Ghana has been compelled to revisit the mass immunisation of poliomyelitis after new cases of the infection were recorded last year in some parts of the country,” he said.
He stated that the cases that were recorded in July last year led to two mass vaccination exercises in 2019 and that this campaign would add up to the previous ones to make up for the national response to the outbreak of the disease.
Dr Punguyire explained that the current vaccination was a new dose created to fight the new strain of the virus that had been recorded and encouraged caregivers to ensure that every child under five years was dosed irrespective of the number of polio vaccines the child had received in the past.
“The region stands at risk since cases have been recorded in adjoining regions and neighbouring Burkina Faso and so we will need the collaboration of caregivers to ensure that the immunisation was successful,” he expressed.
The Acting Director also indicated that the health workers and volunteers who would administer the doses to the children had been trained on the observance of the COVID-19 protocols and given suitable personal protective equipment such as nose masks and hand sanitisers.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA