GHS to vaccinate 199,197 children against measles in U/E

By
Godfred A. Polkuu, GNA

Bolgatanga, Oct. 17, GNA – Dr Winfred Ofosu,
the Upper East Regional Director of Health has said the Directorate targeted to
vaccinate about 199,197 children from age nine months to five years against
measles rubella under the Supplementary Immunisation Activities (SIAs) in the
region.

He said the exercise which was expected to
commence from October 17 to October 22, 2018, would be done by a total number
of 249 health teams made up of 249 vaccinators and 746 trained volunteers who
were equipped to effectively implement the exercise.

The Director indicated that “mobile teams will
be stationed at various communities and schools, and fixed teams will be at
various health facilities.”

He used the opportunity to appeal to all
caregivers to visit any of the immunisation points to have their children
within the age group vaccinated, regardless of whether their weighing cards
were available or not.

Dr Ofosu, disclosed this at the Regional
launch of the measles-rubella and vitamin A campaign, on the theme: “Measles
and Rubella Kill; Vaccinate your Child Now for Good Life, ”said the exercise
would be successful if only health officials successfully mobilised all
eligible children in the region and vaccinated them against the antigens.

He said measles was well-known in communities,
and almost every community had a local name for it, because of its devastating
effects, and recalled that before the advent of vaccines for measles, one could
only be sure a child would live after surviving measles epidemic.

Dr Ofosu said the aftermath of every measles
epidemic was malnutrition, pneumonia, skin and eye infections which sometimes
led to blindness and death, “today the story is different, medical students
have difficulties seeing a case during their training. Thanks to vaccination,”
he added.

The Director said measles and rubella were
contagious viral diseases and remained the cause of death and congenital
abnormalities among children globally, despite the availability of safe and
effective vaccines.

He said even though measles deaths had
decreased by 84 percent worldwide, the disease was still common in many
developing countries, and disclosed that all 22 suspected cases of measles
reported in the region for the first half of 2018, tested negative.

He said under the Global Vaccine Action Plan,
measles and rubella were targeted for elimination in the World Health
Organisation regions by 2020, adding that “to achieve this elimination target,
two doses of measles rubella vaccines were needed for children under 5years (9
months and 18 months).”

Dr Ofosu observed that certain individuals or
population groups continued to remain susceptible to vaccine-preventable
diseases, either because they were missed by routine immunisation or because of
primary vaccination failures and said when the entrance of infected measles
case in unimmunised children was not detected, they grew over a period and
resulted in outbreaks.

This, he said was the rationale for organising
SIAs periodically with efforts to reach every eligible child, “this is an
effective strategy for delivering vaccination to children missed by routine
services for example; the hard-to-reach and underserved groups and communities.”

Dr Ofosu used the opportunity to appeal to all
caregivers to visit any of the immunisation points to have their children
within the age group vaccinated, regardless of whether their weighing cards
were available or not.

Mr Frank Fuseini Adongo, Deputy Upper East
Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf, gave the assurance of
government’s continuous support to expand the range of immunisation programmes
to secure a robust human capital base for national transformation.

He said government would continue to develop
clear sustainable plans for vaccines in the country, including decentralising
the storage of 50 percent of all health commodities to the regional medical
stores.

In the same vein, the Deputy Minister appealed
to parents, guardians and all caregivers to avail their qualified children for
this opportunity to secure them against the huge burdens of disease, disability
and death from the menace of measles and rubella.

GNA

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