From left Dr Magda Robalo, Dr Gloria Quansah, Deputy Director General of GHS, Dr George Bonsu, and Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses (first right) with other representatives of development partners at the event.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has hailed Ghana for what it describes as ‘impressive’ steps taken to ensure children under-five are protected from infections and diseases that often kill them.
Dr Magda Robalo, WHO Ghana Representative, speaking on behalf of Ghana’s development partners, said the promotion of child health through the adoption of immunisation by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to reduce vaccine preventable diseases among children was laudable.
Outlining the major achievements in the use of vaccine to prevent diseases and death in children, Dr Robola said the country had succeeded in reducing the over 60,000 measles cases and deaths that were once recorded to 500 reported cases.
‘For the past 10 years, there has not been any death recorded from measles in the country,’ she said.
She further noted that diseases like polio, whooping cough and neonatal tetanus which were classic infant killers were now rare and could only be counted in figures due to the various immunisation programmes ongoing in Ghana.
‘We call upon all Ghanaians to make sure that they and their families are up-to-date with the vaccines they need, to give themselves the best chance of a healthy future,’ she emphasized.
Dr Robola made these statements during a press briefing towards the 10 th anniversary of the Child Health Promotion Week in Ghana and 4 th Africa Vaccination Week, which begins from April 22-28 2014 and May 2, 2014.
The celebration, themed, ‘A Shared Responsibility’, with the slogan, ‘Vaccinated Communities, Healthy Communities’ was to create more awareness about the importance of immunisation, the immunisation services available and to encourage all caregivers to patronise the services available.
Dr George Bonsu, Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Programme Manager, said despite the high coverage of 90 percent immunisation of children in the country, some children were still being left out.
‘In 2013, an estimated 98,533 infants were not reached with routine immunisation services throughout the country,’ he said.
He said the need for all stakeholders to join hands to participate in the vaccination and child health promotion week and ensure their children get all the 12 vaccines before 18 months to conquer the preventable diseases should begin from now.
Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses, National Child Health Coordinator for the National Child Health Promotion Planning Committee, said the commencement of the child health promotion week 10 years ago had yielded results for the country and moved it towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal 4.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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