About five million children under-five years
would be immunized against the poliovirus from February 12-14 in the
first round of the National Immunization Days (NIDs).
The second round would be held from March 26-28.
Some 42,500 volunteers would move from house-to-house
throughout the country to carry out the exercise.
The NIDs will have Vitamin A being given to 3.3 million children
from six months to five years.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Dr Kwadwo Antwi Agyei,
Programme Manager for Expanded Programme on Immunization of the
Ghana Health Service, said the NIDs were in response to the recording
of eight polio cases, which were imported from Benin, paralyzing
children in the Northern Region.
Ghana had had a polio-free period from September 2003 to August
2008 before the eight cases were reported.
He said the specimen of the cases were confirmed positive after
being sent to South Africa for further sequencing to determine the
source of the virus after the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical
Research had done some analysis.
Dr Antwi Agyei noted that Ghana was surrounded by Benin,
Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, that had wild polio viruses
and the national surveillance indicators showed a lot of “compatibles to
polio” because of inherent weakness.
He explained that the doses that would be given to targeted children
during the NIDs would be extra doses of polio vaccines that every child
under-five years should receive even if the child had already been
immunized. It does not replace routine immunization.
“Polio will continue to threaten children everywhere as long as it
exists somewhere. In this age of global travel, a new outbreak of polio
might only be plane flight away.”
The NIDs are organized by Ghana Health Service with support from
WHO, UNICEF, Centre for Disease Control, Ghana National Polio
Plus Committee of Rotary International and JICA, among others.
Dr Antwi Agyei urged parents; caregivers and guardians to make
sure that their children under-five years received two drops of polio
vaccine each during the two rounds and patronized the routine
vaccination as well.
He called for work to be done to ensure that Ghana was declared as
polio-free, pointing out that “this will only come to fruition when we
together with our neighbouring countries put coordinated
Polio is an infectious disease caused by a germ called Polio. It
commonly causes lameness in the arms, legs or upper parts of the
body. It affects the nerves and muscles of the body causing paralysis.