The Birim Central Municipal Health Directorate, Eastern Region, on Tuesday started vaccinating people against yellow fever in line with the National Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign to prevent the outbreak of the fatal disease in high risk areas.
The Municipality is one of the 43 districts in eight regions targeted for exercise, necessitated by the outbreak of the disease in the Upper West Region.
Under the theme: “Get Vaccinated and be Protected Against Yellow Fever,” the exercise would end on Monday, November 28.
Ms Anastasia Atiogbe, Municipal Director of Health Services, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Akim Oda, that: “The target population is persons 10 years and above, excluding pregnant women.
However, in three districts of the Upper West Region, a reactive vaccination campaign will cover all persons over one year old, excluding pregnant women, to halt the transmission and increase immunity among the population in the Region.
The vaccination, which is free, is being undertaken by the Ministry of Health with the support of the World Health Organisation and other development partners.
Ms Atiogbe explained that: “A team of health workers and Community Health Volunteers will be moving to schools, organisations, churches and workplaces to vaccinate people.”
According to the Ministry of Health, Yellow fever, which has no cure, “is a potentially lethal infection transmitted by a bite from a mosquito called Aedes aegypti.”
The disease goes through three stages with the initial symptoms being headache, muscle and joint aches, fever flushing, loss of appetite, vomiting and jaundice.
After about three to four days, the symptoms go away briefly, a condition called remission, which also lasts about three to four days. Most people recover at this stage but others develop into the third stage.
The third stage, referred to as “a period of intoxication”, is characterized by multi-organ dysfunction – which may include the heart, liver and kidney failure, bleeding disorders, haemorrhage and brain dysfunction. The brain dysfunction includes delirium, seizures, coma, shock and death.
Ms Atiogbe told the GNA that: “Yellow fever is a very dangerous disease because half of those who develop complications from it die. Immunization is the best form of protection from the disease.”
In 1992, the Government introduced yellow fever vaccination for children at nine months to protect them from the disease and it has since become part of the national Expanded Programme on Immunisation. gna