The first phase of the two annual mass polio vaccination campaign commenced on Thursday September 18, and would end on Saturday September 20, 2014.
The National Immunization Day (NID), which was been observed since 1996, targets children from age zero to five, to ensure that no child under these age bracket gets infected with this preventable but deadly disease.
Dr Gloria Quansah-Asare, Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, at a briefing prior to the kick-start of the vaccination exercise at the Ga South Municipal Hospital in Weija, said Ghana was joining other West African countries in the two synchronized polio National Imminisation Days as part of an ‘End Game Strategy’ to eradicate the disease.
According to her, this year’s NID targets over 4.5 million children across the country through its house to house, school, market and health facility services of two doses of the polio vaccine.
She said the goal of the two rounds was to maintain Ghana’s gains towards polio eradication and halt the transmission in the sub region.
She said there was no doubt that Ghana had been successful in the fight to end polio in the country in particular and the world in general, through quality routine immunization and periodic mass campaigns, as well as intensified surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis cases.
She however said there was no need for Ghana to be complacent about her current status, as experiences such as the sudden outbreak in 2008, where Ghana reported eight wild polio virus cases had provided enough warning to the GHS to sustain the NIDs.
The Acting Director-General said the county had succeeded in stamping out polio for six consecutive years and commendation must be given to the various programme managers of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) of the Ghana Health Service.
Dr Quansah-Asare, together with Ms Sfoiijlani, Acting Municipal Director of Health Services of the Ga South Municipal Assembly and a team from the GHS, assisted health personnel at the Ga South Municipal Hospital, Weija, the Public Health Nurses School Demonstration Clinic at Malam and the Gbawe Cluster of School all in the Ga South Municipality, to administer their fist polio since the Municipality was created.
She appealed to the media to heighten their advocacy and education to enlighten the public on the safety of the Polio vaccines and the importance of immunizing their children to realize the benefits of the NIDs.
Ms Sfoiijlani said the Ga South Municipality had peculiar problems such as hard to reach areas and very scattered communities, making NIDs campaign in the area very challenging.
She appealed to all parents and care takers of children to avail their children and assist the volunteers when they get to their areas and also to visit the nearest vaccination centers for their service. GNA