Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano is the Programme Manager (PM) of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Ghana Health Service. He is a Physician Epidemiologist and a Senior Public Health Physician Specialist in the Ghana Health Service. Dr. Amponsa-Achiano has over 20 years’ experience in public health. He graduated with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi in Ghana in 1999 and was admitted to the Membership of the Ghana College of Physicians in 2009 and the Fellowship of the same College in 2015.
The Programme’s mandate is to reduce morbidity and mortality of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) through immunization as an essential component of Primary Health Care (PHC). Ghana’s EPI continues to grow with the introduction of new vaccines and appropriate interventions to fight Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDS). The Programme started in 1978 in Ghana with six vaccines. Currently, 13 vaccine preventable diseases are targeted by the programme. The key strategic approach in delivering the services is the Reaching Every Child strategy
The Program is headed by the Manager, and ably assisted by a Deputy Program Manager. There are five units under the program:
Data Management & Monitoring and Evaluation, Communication, Safety Surveillance, Logistics and Training.
The Policy goal of EPI is to protect all children and pregnant women living in Ghana against vaccine preventable diseases.
The specific objectives for the program set with reference to the global goals:
- To attain an operational target of 90% nationally for all antigens To attain more than 80% of districts to attain Penta3 coverage of 80% and above
- To maintain zero mortality due to measles: Measles mortality has been maintained at zero (0) since 2003 and the programme aimed at maintaining this achievement
- To maintain ‘polio free’ status in the country
- To maintain Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) elimination status
- To introduce Rubella-containing measles vaccine into the routine programme
- To improve routine reporting of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI)
- To commemorate Child Health Promotion Week and African Vaccination Week:
- The programme dedicated a week to heighten awareness on child health interventions in the country and also used it as an opportunity to
- provide essential child health services
- To improve technical support and supervision
Key Strategies and Main Interventions
Key strategies used by the programme are as follow:
- Improved access through strengthening of Reaching Every District (RED) approach in all districts
- Improved quality of service through strengthening of supervision and monitoring
- Strengthened integration with other Child health related programmes–CHPW, Integrated Maternal and Childhood Health, Polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) etc.
- Training in data generation and use for decision-making
- Strengthened lower-level planning by training in micro-planning Strengthened collaborations with stakeholders to improve surveillance performance
- Provision of feedback on performance to reporting institutions
- Supported more activities on capacity building for cold chain and vaccine management in all the districts