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Science Rotary frustrated about new Polio cases


Rotary Ghana on Friday called on ECOWAS leaders to re-affirm their commitment to achieving polio eradication and make resources available towards that direction.

"The Rotary Clubs in Ghana are gradually getting frustrated with the recent outbreak of eight cases of polio in the Northern Region of Ghana in August 2008. The outbreak in Yendi and the surrounding areas has necessitated the re-mobilization of precious human and financial resources to protect our children from polio paralysis", Mr Winfred A. Amensah said.

The call came after Ghana had recorded eight cases of wild polio after recording no case for five continuous years, thus disrupting efforts made towards declaring Ghana and the African continent polio free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The cases, all imported from Benin, were detected in the eastern part of the Northern Region during last year's national immunisation exercise with the index case coming from Yendi.

The cases have been confirmed as paralysis in children and are being managed clinically since there was no treatment for the disease.

Mr Mensah, expressing his frustration at the launch of the national Polio Immunisation Days (NIDs) in Accra, said Rotary Ghana had put in over 4.8 million dollars since the inception of the exercise in 1996 and would be adding more this year.

"It is rather disappointing to note that despite our vigilance in Ghana, our children still remain vulnerable to polio spreading from some of the neighbouring countries who have failed to immunize their children to stop the transmission".

"Polio eradication continues to be Rotary's top priority, with over 800 million dollars voted for eradication worldwide.”

He said although Rotary's initiative to fight against Polio in 1985 had reduced the number of cases by 99 per cent over the two decades, the wild polio virus still persists in four countries namely Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan, "and imported cases from these endemic countries continue to threaten other developing countries".

Dr Daniel Kertesz, World Health Organisation Representative to Ghana, said the fight against polio required that countries worked together and Ghana would be joined by six other West African countries to hold similar NIDs on February 12 to 14 and from March 26 to 28 to immunize over 23 million children in the sub-region.

"By vaccinating together, we will improve our chances of chasing polio out of the sub-region. This is a clear demonstration of the highest level willingness and determination to beat this disease", he said.