Godfred A. Polkuu, GNA
Bolgatanaga, June 4, GNA - The Upper East Regional Health Directorate on has out-doored the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into the routine immunization schedule in line with operations end polio in the country.
The IPV is an injectable vaccine intended to be given to babies who are 14 weeks old to boost their immune system and to help eliminate the risk of vaccine associated with paralytic polio and circulating vaccine derived poliovirus.
Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, said Ghana’s childhood immunization programme was adopted 40 years ago to reduce the incidences of pertussis and diphtheria experienced a dramatic down turn while child survival rate astronomically increased.
Dr Ofosu, who spoke on the theme: “Lets Come Together to Kick Polio out of Ghana,” said “Following the success of the six antigens, it became necessary over the years to expand the scope of diseases prevented through childhood immunization, hence, the addition of more vaccines.”
This, he said was particularly important because of the high infant and child morbidity and mortality due to other vaccine preventable diseases such as yellow fever, hepatitis B, diarrhoea among others.
Dr Ofosu said childhood immunization had been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the most viable and cost effective strategy for protecting children against vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs), adding that, “throughout the world, vaccination forms the bedrock of the fight against infectious communicable diseases such as small pox and neonatal tetanus.”
He disclosed that the expanded programme on immunization (EPI) was introduced in June 1978 as one of the key strategies for reducing under-five morbidity and mortality by controlling, eliminating or eradicating vaccine preventable diseases through maternal and childhood immunization, which formed an essential component of Primary Health Care.
“By this programme, every child is expected to be fully vaccinated against thirteen diseases and all women of child bearing age are equally expected to receive a minimum of five doses of tetanus diphtheria (Td) vaccines to be fully protected against tetanus and diphtheria.”
According to him, this maternal protection is usually transferred to babies before delivery, and gave them some level of immunity against tetanus until they turned six weeks, when the childhood vaccination against tetanus begins.
The Director said immunization programme in Ghana started with six vaccines with the main aim of protecting children against the then six childhood killer diseases. “The impact of these vaccines was quite tremendous, resulting in a drastic reduction in both measles cases and death almost immediately.”
He said the IPV would be given alongside the oral polio vaccine to ensure effective polio eradication throughout the world in the next few years, and assured people of the Region that they would commit all the required efforts and resources necessary for effective campaign, and further appealed to mothers and stakeholders to support the efforts of health personnel to provide quality health services across the region.
Launching the IPV, Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister, said government was committed to expanding the range of immunization for the Ghanaian population as part of increasing access to health care.
He said more resources would be committed to key research in science and technology to break the cycle of disease, and secure good health for the citizenry.
“Government continues to appreciate the contribution of development partners to the breakthrough and innovations in our health systems”, he added.