Accra, Sept. 30, GNA – The Ghana Health
Service (GHS) would, from Wednesday, October 17, kick off the Measles-Rubella
Vaccination across the country towards the elimination of the childhood killer
The six-day exercise, which would target
children from nine months to five years, is to ensure that those who have never
been vaccinated against the viral diseases would be covered, while the
vaccinated ones would receive a booster.
Dr John B. K. Yabani, the Acting Deputy
Director of Public Health of the Greater Accra Region, who announced this at a
regional stakeholders’ meeting in Accra, appealed to regional ministers,
district and metropolitan chief executives to help in educating and mobilising
parents for the exercise.
He said oral Vitamin A supplement, which helps
to maintain healthy vision and ensures the normal function of the immune
system, among other benefits, would be administered alongside the injectable
Dr Yabani explained that for Ghana to
eliminate measles and rubella, at least 95 per cent of children must be
However, about 100,000 children, he said, were
missed annually during the routine vaccination, which is administered at nine
months and repeated as a booster when they reached 18 months.
He attributed the situation to some parents
rejecting the vaccination on religious or cultural grounds, ignorance and
geographical barriers to health teams and facilities.
Consequently, the health personnel and
volunteers to be involved in the impending campaign would operate from both
fixed and mobile points, thus visiting schools, markets and hard to reach
“Vaccines are very good, and many of us are
living testimonies to their efficacy,” Dr Yabani said.
“We have seen the benefits of this one since
we started in the 1990s and it is very encouraging that since 2003, no
measles-related death has been recorded in Ghana. But we must strive to totally
eliminate the disease.”
In the Greater Accra Region, 773,000 children
are expected to be covered during the exercise.
He tasked the media and non-governmental
organisations to assist in making the campaign, which would end on Monday,
October 22, a complete success.
Both the measles and rubella viruses are
transmitted from person to person when infected droplets are inhaled from
patients during sneezing or coughing; as the viruses dwell in the mucus in the
mouth and nose.
The viruses could also be transmitted from
mother-to-child, especially during pregnancy.
Rubella, which is also called German Measles,
is passed on during pregnancy through the placenta into the circulatory system
of the unborn child, causing either a miscarriage or birth of an infant with
Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
Although Rubella is generally benign, medical
experts say CRS in infants is dangerous and can cause complications, including
blindness, deafness, mental retardation, heart defects (hole-in-heart) and a
host of other conditions – from diabetes to autism (a disorder that affects the
social, emotional and behavioural development of children).
Some common symptoms of measles-rubella
infections are fever, skin rash, runny nose, cough and red eye.