“Through immunization efforts, the incidence of Polio has since decreased by over 99%. About 2.5 billion children and over 5 million disabilities have been prevented worldwide, thanks to the Oral Polio Vaccine!” The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Ofosu Adofo commended the just ended launch of the National Immunization Days against Polio in Accra. The launch themed “Kick Polio out of Ghana. Vaccinate your Child Now.” encouraged parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children and wards under 5years to help kick polio out of Ghana.
The Deputy Director-General noted that although the country is free of the wild poliovirus, there was the risk of importation from other countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan which remain endemic. He gave a global history of polio and country-based history and highlighted some of the core impacts of the introduction of the Oral polio Vaccine and other key interventions. He added that the exercise was a World Health Organisation recommendation to countries to conduct immunization response campaigns within a stipulated time to help curtail the spread of the polio virus across the African sub-region and the world at large. Dr. Ofosu also commended the collective efforts of over a thousand health workers, parents, caregivers, government officials, partners, and the people across the length and breadth of the country and the continent at large. He pleaded with parents and caregivers to keep their environment clean and maintain good personal hygiene.
In a keynote address presented on behalf of the Minister for Health, the Deputy Minister of Health, Hon. Mahama Asei Seini indicated that Ghana and indeed the world had made incredible progress toward polio eradication, reducing polio cases by over 99.9% in the last 30 years. He added however that the last steps to ending this disease have been the most difficult, particularly with continuing polio outbreaks around the world. He emphasized the need to respond swiftly and appropriately to polio outbreaks in the country following reports of a new case of wild polio imported from Pakistan to Malawi and other southern African countries in August this year after Africa had been declared free of indigenous wild polio in 2020. Hon. Seni pointed out that Ghana through its robust disease surveillance system initially received notification from the laboratory, a confirmation of positive events and a case (Acute Flaccid Paralysis) of Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus type 2 (cVDPV2) from environmental sites in the Northern and Savannah Regions, respectively. A systematic risk assessment, he revealed was thus conducted by the Ghana Health Service with support from partners (WHO, CDC, and UNICEF) and the results showed the whole country was prone to high levels of local transmission of poliovirus.
The Honorable Deputy Minister reiterated that despite the incredible historical progress made towards polio eradication in Ghana, thousands of vulnerable children were still missing out on Polio and other routine vaccines. He disclosed that the Government of Ghana together with partners would deploy the novel Oral Polio Virus Type 2 (nOPV2) vaccine during the upcoming polio campaign. He mentioned that approximately 370 million doses have been administered across 21 countries since its launch in March 2021. As a result, most countries using the vaccine have also managed to stop the transmission of the Circulating Vaccine Derive Polio Virus type 2.
The Deputy Minister after delivering his keynote address officially launched the Day with support from Nana Yaa Siriboe, Chairperson for the Polio Plus Committee of Rotary Ghana, and other dignitaries. They then proceeded to administer a few doses to some children to serve as a symbol of the day.
SOURCE: PR UNIT
November 21, 2022