Tamale, May 4, GNA -About 100 babies in Tamale were on Friday given the first dose of two new vaccines recently introduced into the country to protect children against pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The vaccines, pnuemococcal and rotavirus, would help Ghana to tackle the leading cause of the world's biggest childhood killers, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
At a ceremony in Tamale to introduce the vaccine, Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, the Northern Regional Minister, administered the drugs on some babies to kick start the programme.
He urged expectant and nursing mothers to send their babies to health facilities to be given the vaccine to protect them.
Mr Mabengba said the new vaccines being introduced into the nation's immunisation programme showed the country's commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) as well as fighting two of the major childhood under five killer diseases.
He said that immunisation was the most effective public health intervention and the cornerstone of public health care, saving three million lives per year worldwide.
Mr Mabengba said the government was working to improve infrastructure and introducing other interventions to enable the country achieve the target for the MDG 4 with the reduction of mortality of children under five years from 111 per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 80 per 1,000 live births in 2008.
Dr Akwesi Twumasi, Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, explained that the pneumococcal vaccine would protect children from pneumona, ear infections and meningitis while the rotavirus vaccine would protect children against diarrhoea caused by rotavirus.
He said pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, which had been well tested, were expected to reach more than 40 countries globally by 2015.
Dr Twumasi appealed to nursing mothers to make the health of their children a priority by adhering to advice and directions of health officials and also ensure environmental cleanliness.