The Greater Accra Regional Health Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Charity Sarpong, has said that the Region is set to begin the Round-One of the Poliomyelitis (Polio) Response Vaccination exercise.
Dr. Sarpong made this known at a stakeholder’s meeting in Accra on Tuesday.
The exercise is scheduled to commence from September 25 to 28, 2019, across the 29 districts of the Greater Accra Region.
All children between the ages of Zero (0) to 59 months will be given doses of the polio vaccine regardless of their immunization statuses.
Outlining the planned strategies and activities put in place by the GHS to prevent an outbreak of the poliovirus among children in the Region, Dr. Sarpong assured that public that the polio vaccine was safe and effective.
She added that “it does not matter the number of times a child receives the vaccine, it will cause him or her no harm at all. In fact the more the doses the better the protection”.
Dr. Sarpong further explained that coverage for the initial round of the response vaccination exercise, also referred to as the (Round-Zero), which commenced from September 11 to 14, 2019, was about 99.8%, but it was hoped that the next round would see a 100% coverage to ensure that no child was left behind.
She mentioned some of the challenges faced during the initial exercise as the refusal of certain schools to release the children to be immunized, and hoped that they do not encounter similar challenges in the Round-One, saying advocacy and social mobilization on the vaccination had been intensified to ensure success.
Dr Sarpong explained that apart from the fact that Polio was a deadly disease, it could also cause permanent paralysis in children, and that the illness still remained a threat for global health as there were outbreaks in 12 African countries in addition to Pakistan and Syria, hence the need to ensure that no child was left from being immunized.
She gave a brief background of the disease, saying that Ghana has over the last 10 years enjoyed a Polio free status and maintained high immunization coverage against the disease using OPV and IPV, however, on August 17, 2019, a case of Polio was confirmed in the Northern Region.
To ensure Ghana’s effort to sustain the gains towards the global end game strategy against polio, environmental surveillance for poliovirus was established at 10 sites in 2016 to supplement Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) Surveillance, she said.