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Immunisation, a valuable asset for children


Dr Kwaku Anin Karikari, Western Regional Deputy Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the re-emergence of eight polio cases in Ghana should compel parents and guardians of children, under five years, to have them vaccinated in the immunisation programme, beginning today.

These cases were reported in the Northern parts of the country and were suspected to have been brought from some neighbouring African countries.

Polio is a viral disease that affects children under five years and leaves permanent deformities in their legs.

Dr. Karikari said these at a press briefing, on Wednesday, at Takoradi, to launch the programme and solicit the assistance of the media in its awareness creation towards the exercise, which ends 14 this year.

He said Ghana had since September 2003 not recorded any polio cases until the discovery of the eight cases in August last year.

Dr. Karikari disclosed that cases of measles in Ghana dropped drastically from 34,671 cases in 1994 to 434 in 2005.

He said in the region, measles also reduced from 1,202 in 2001 to 28 in 2007.

Dr. Karikari said the routine immunisations have significantly reduced measles-induced deaths among children below five years of age.

He noted that Ghana was still at risk from polio infections and stressed that the adoption of the National Immunisation Days, Child Health Promotion Weeks and Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaigns, were all aimed at eliminating polio from Ghana.

Dr. Karikari said Vitamin A supplementation would be added and appealed to all parents, teachers, churches and voluntary organisations to let their children participate in the exercise.

He said the region had targeted to immunise 503,170 children against polio, while an additional 477,153 would receive Vitamin A supplement.

Dr Karikari said a West African Immunisation Exercise would take place simultaneously in all the countries on March 26.

It is aims at significantly reducing polio infection in countries with high prevalence rates.