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16.02.2009 Health

National Polio Immunisation Day Observed

By ISD (Zakari Musah)

The Ghana Health Service (GHS), as part of National Polio Immunisation Day, immunised children below the age of five years as well as monitored polio situation round the communities in the Dangbe West District of the Greater Accra region.

According to Dr Edward Antwi, Deputy Director, Public Health Service of the GHS, the three-day national exercise is to ensure that all children in Ghana below five years are vaccinated to protect them from contracting the polio disease either by legs or hands since it's devastating and has no cure.

He explained that polio is a viral illness which when affects children, some of them will end up having permanent paralyses and 'is not curable once the child comes out with the disease.'

The Doctor observed that the problem in Ghana is that polio virus spread through faeces so one gets the infection when the person visits the toilet.

He explained that the virus in the faeces contaminates food or water through unhygienic conditions, and when any child eats the food or drinks the water, he or she gets the virus into the body, and then it multiplies in the body, paralyzing the child.

He therefore urged Ghanaians to ensure that they live in a clean environment so that they can live a healthy life.

Dr Antwi noted that the polio vaccine has proven to be effective, therefore if the children are protected, the body will become immune so even if there is an outbreak of the disease in the country, it will not affect the child.

'The challenge is that when Ghana eradicates polio disease, so long as neighboring countries still have it, the tendency of Ghana getting it is great. Its only Asia and Africa that the virus is still circulating', he stated.

The Deputy Director observed that since 2003, Ghana has not recorded polio cases until last year that eight cases were recorded. 'Upon examination at the medical laboratories, it has been found that the disease came from neighbouring countries.'

'Until West African countries eradicate polio, Ghana will not be free but the onus is to ensure that all children below five years are vaccinated against the disease so that the body will be immuned from contracting the disease,' Dr Antwi said.

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