The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Upper East Region has commenced a four-day polio vaccination exercise across the Region.
Addressing a press briefing in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Director of the GHS, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, announced that the exercise aims to vaccinate children under 5 years of age.
Dr. Ofosu recalled that “On 23th August 2019, the Ministry of Health, Ghana, reported a confirmed case of vaccine derived polio virus type 2 (cVDPV2) in a two-year-old child from Andonyama (a sub-district in Chereponi, Northern Region) who developed acute flaccid paralysis on the 23rd July 2019.”
Dr Ofosu said it was the first case of cVDPV reported in Ghana in July 2019; adding that a cVDPV was confirmed in an environmental sample collected in June 2019 from the Tamale Metropolis in Northern Ghana.
He said an additional cVDPV2 positive environmental sample was collected from Accra District, in the Greater Accra Region on 13th August 2019.
According to Dr. Ofosu, “These positive environmental samples and the case of cVDPV appear to be linked to the strain of vaccine derived poliovirus that emerged in Jigwa State Nigeria, which subsequently spread to other parts of Nigeria.”
Giving details of the Vaccination exercise, he said the first round in the Region would begin on Wednesday, 25th and end on Saturday, 28th September 2019, while the second round would commerce from October 16th to 19th 2019.
To ensure that no child within the age range was left out, Dr Ofosu said some 1400 Community Health Volunteers would move from house to house, schools and markets places to vaccinate children.
He explained that “Every child will be given two drops of the polio vaccine. Caregivers who are not visited at home can also go to the nearest health facility to get their children vaccinated.”
He said the GHS had over the years conducted several polio vaccination exercises which have ensured a reduction in the number of polio cases in the Region.
Dr. Ofosu gave the assurance that the vaccine was safe, and encouraged caregivers to make their children available for the exercise.