The Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Wednesday started supplementary vaccination exercise to protect children against poliomyelitis in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.
A total of 570,864 children below five years are expected to be vaccinated in the three regions, during the four-day exercise expected to end on Saturday, January 11, 2020.
The vaccination campaign, according to the GHS was necessitated following the outbreak of Poliovirus Type Two in parts of the country.
Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person to person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or less frequently, by a common vehicle such as contaminated food and water and multiplies in the intestines from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting and stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. There is no cure for polio, and it can only be prevented by immunization.
Last year, the GHS reported several cases from Chereponi, in the North East Region, Kumbungu, and Savelugu in the Northern Region, Central Gonja in the newly-created Savanna Region and Nkwanta North in the newly-created Oti Region.
In the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions, two of three children who were infected died whilst the other victim survived with some level of paralysis.
Cases were reported from Asiri community in the Jaman North District of the Bono, Sissalaline in the Techiman Municipality of Bono East and Kwasuso community in the Asutifi South District of the Ahafo regions where 24-month-old girl, 33-month-old-girl and 37-month old boy were infected respectively.
Addressing a news conference in Sunyani, Dr John Ekow Otoo, Deputy Director, Public Health at the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Health Directorate said the Ministry of Health (MoH), GHS and its partners had developed a plan to break transmission and contain the poliovirus.
He explained the confirmation of the Polio Type Two virus in Ghana led to a declaration of Public Health Emergency of National Concern by the MoH.
Throwing more light on the vaccination campaign, Dr Otoo said three rounds of the exercise had been planned, and appealed to parents and guardians to cooperate with the vaccination teams and ensure all eligible children were vaccinated.
The team involved in the campaign would move from house to house, schools and fixed-post stations at health facilities while the left finger of children vaccinated would be marked with an indelible marker and all houses entered by vaccinating teams would be marked as well.
Already, Dr Otoo explained a round zero reactive vaccination campaign was organised from December 19 to December 22, last year, in six selected Districts – Banda, Berekum, Berekum West, Jaman North, Jaman South and Tain in the Bono Region and 101,242 children were vaccinated, coverage of 98.3 per cent.