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24.09.2004 Regional News

Poor sanitation hampers Polio eradication efforts

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Ho, Sept. 24,GNA- Dr John Bertson Eleeza, acting Volta Regional Senior Medical Officer, in charge of Public Health, on Thursday observed that poor environmental conditions, disease and nutritional deficiencies, continued to compound efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio) in developing countries.

He said this phenomenon has necessitated the increase in the dosage of the polio vaccine to between 10-15 doses in these countries as against the three doses in the developed countries to achieve the 90 percent "seroconversion median" mark for the three types of the polio disease. Dr Eleeza, who made the remark at the Regional Polio Eradication Planning Committee meeting in Ho, said the "mucosal" immunity of the polio vaccines, which is relatively short-lived required frequent boosters of the vaccines, hence the routine National Immunisation Days (NID).

He said an expected 366,705 children under five years were supposed to be immunised in the in the Region, between October 8-10 and from November 19-21, this year.

Dr Eleeza said lack of commitment by stakeholders; financial support; political will; negative beliefs, conflicts and poor execution of strategies at both the local and international fronts were the bane of the disease control.

Dr Andrew Arde-Acquah, Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, said the national quest to attain a polio-free status this year, had suffered a setback as eight wild polio cases were identified in the country, in 2003, forcing the national eradication programme to continue till 2005.

He expressed optimism that the synchronised NIDs, among neighbouring countries including Nigeria, which recorded 301 cases of wild polio coupled with the implementation of strategies, would sustain efforts to eradicate polio from the West African sub-region.

Dr Anthony Kazoka, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultant, called for an effective monitoring, evaluation, supervision and planning toward efforts to record a 99 per cent success in the eradication exercise. Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, the Regional Minister entreated members of the Committee to fashion out practical strategies to make the exercise successful.

He commended Rotary International, United Nations Children's Fund, WHO and other collaborating organisations for their efforts towards the national fight to eradicate polio.

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