10.03.2005 General News

Petrol prices hinder Polio Immunization Exercise

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Tamale, March 10, GNA - Dr. Akwasi Twumasi, a Public Health Physician of the Ghana Health Service in Tamale has said that the price hike in petrol announced by the government last month nearly marred the smooth take-off of the first round of the Polio Immunization Exercise in the Northern Region.

He said the increase in price of the commodity, which culminated in increase in transport fares, compelled the Ghana Health Service to adjust the about 1.2 billion cedis allocated for the Polio Immunisation to be able to undertake the exercise.

He said most of the districts in the region ran into financial difficulties for the same reason but the timely intervention of the District Assemblies and other stakeholders who donated money to support the exercise saved the situation and the polio immunisation took off without any hindrance.

Dr. Twumasi was speaking to the GNA in an interview in Tamale on Tuesday, a few days after the first round of the nationwide polio immunization exercise.

He said in spite of the difficulty, the region exceeded its target of immunizing 600,000 children by an additional 71,371, representing more than 100 per cent coverage.

He attributed the high coverage to the administration of anti-worm drops to the children as part of the exercise and the fact that education on the polio immunisation had gone down well with the people. In a related development, Dr. Twumasi has appealed to people in Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM) endemic areas to sleep in well-ventilated rooms to avoid contracting the disease.

He said cases of the CSM were on the increase because of the dramatic change in the weather pattern, adding that, a few people in Taha/Kamina, a Tamale suburb and some communities in East Mamprusi District had died of the disease.

Dr. Twumasi said the Ghana Health Service was currently undertaking a five-day mass immunization exercise in the affected areas to contain the outbreak.

He advised people with head and neck pains to report quickly to any health facility, since early detection would avert any possible death. He warned people not to link the deadly disease to witchcraft and desist from assaulting old people who they suspect to be the cause of the disease.

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