MOH to organise nationwide polio immunisation
Tamale, Jan. 31, GNA – Following the detection of eight
Wild Polio Virus (WPV) cases in the country between
August and November last year, the Ministry of Health
with its development partners are organizing a
nationwide polio immunization.
Under the programme, which would begin from February 12
to 14 this year, and repeated from March 26 to 28, every
child under five years including babies would be
Dr Akwasi Twumasi, the Northern Regional Director of the
Ghana Health Service, announced this during a media
briefing on the “2009 National Immunisation Days (NIDs)”
campaign, in Tamale on Friday.
Dr Twumasi said polio was a dangerous disease, which
could kill or cripple children for life adding that the
disease could easily be prevented by using a safe
vaccine given as drops in the mouth.
He said the doses that would be administered during the
NIDs were extra doses of polio vaccine that every child
under five years should receive even if the child had
already been vaccinated.
He explained that every child needed about 10 to 15
doses of the vaccine for effective protection and that
the doses given during the NIDs did not replace routine
Dr Twumasi said since 1996, the country had adopted
strategies to contain polio but in spite of the
tremendous progress made in reducing the incidence, the
disease still existed.
He said polio, which could cause paralysis of the limbs
and the chest muscles and affect other parts of the
body, would continue to threaten children everywhere as
long as the disease existed elsewhere.
Dr Twumasi said the country was currently experiencing
an outbreak of WPV since September 15 2008, after five
years of polio-free since September 2003.
“So far, eight cases of wild polio (type I) have been
confirmed with seven of the cases coming from the
Northern Region and one unknown.
“The viruses from the eight cases have been linked with
those reported from Benin,” he said.
The sector Ministry had also taken appropriate response
activities including house-to-house immunisation in
seven of the 10 regions, to control the outbreak between
November and December, last year.
The regions, he said, were the Upper East, Upper West,
Northern, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Easter and Volta.
Dr Twumasi said the Ministry of Health had also
intensified surveillance activities in all the regions
and districts since the outbreak.
Alhaji A.B. Yakubu, the Northern Regional Health
Promoter, said one of the challenges facing the NIDs was
the refusal by parents to allow their children to be
immunised on suspicion that the polio vaccine would
precipitate other diseases in their children.
He explained, however, that the vaccine is intended to
prevent polio and nothing else.