Hospitals run out of vaccines for killer diseases

Hospitals in the Ashanti Region have run out of vaccines administered to newborn babies to fight deadly childhood diseases.

Vaccines for measles, tuberculosis, yellow fever and hepatitis are currently in short supply.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) confirmed the shortage of these vaccines following increasing reports from parents of newborn babies.

In the Ashanti Region, some hospitals do not even have syringes and needles for administering vaccines where they are available.

Luv FM’s John Teye visited some health facilities in the region and reports that for the past three months stocks of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccines to prevent infant tuberculosis have depleted in major hospitals.

Post natal visits by nursing mothers have to be rescheduled several times due to the unavailability of these vaccines.

Some disappointed nursing mothers who spoke to Luv News said they are worried about the health of their children.

They said they fear the shortage of the vaccines might affect their children’s growth.

Head of Public Health Unit at the North Suntreso government hospital, Rachel Nyamah Obeng, who confirmed a shortage at her facility to John Teye said, hospitals in the region were unable to assist them with the vaccines when they run out because they were facing similar difficulties.

Luv News’ sources at the Regional Health Directorate say the shortage of the vaccines was due to the fire that gutted the Central Medical Stores earlier this year.

The situation is not different in Accra.
A doctor whose wife delivered at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital three weeks ago said he was only informed about the unavailability of vaccines a day after his wife gave birth.

According to him, hospital officials said they did not administer the vaccines because they had run out.

Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, confirmed the shortage to Joy News but blames the situation on lack of funding from government.

He said as Ghana attains lower middle-income status, it is expected to fund part of the vaccines, meaning that a budget must be put in place to cover the cost of purchasing these vaccines.

He said the GHS has been assured that monies will be released to UNICEF today and the vaccines will arrive in the country in the coming week.

In the meantime, Dr Appiah-Denkyira said nurses have been deployed to monitor the health of newborn babies and the vaccines will be administered as soon as the stock arrives.

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