GHS to vaccinate 30,000 children against Measles, Rubella in Central Region

By Isaac
Arkoh/Issac Asirifi, GNA

Cape Coast, Oct. 18, GNA – The Central
Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) is expected to vaccinate
more than 30,000 children between the ages of nine months and five years
against Measles and Rubella from October 17 to 22.

Dr Kwaku Karikari, Deputy Regional Director
in-charge of Public Health, made this known at the launch of the Regional
measles-rubella vaccination campaign in Cape Coast on Wednesday.

The exercise would be carried out in all the
22 Districts of the Region, with the keen support from all stakeholders,
particularly parents.

He said the campaign was in line with
government’s effort to curb measles and rubella infection that led to the death
of children and also help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) aimed
at reducing death of children under five years.

Soliciting the support of all, he announced
that the Region recorded 19 cases of measles-rubella in 2013 but had increased
astronomically to 29 as of October 2018.

Measles vaccinations coverage also improved
from 84 per cent in 2000 to 88-89 per cent in 2012 while reported cases of
measles dropped from 140,000 in 1980 to about 12,000 in 2002.

Some 101 confirmed cases were recorded in
2009, which reduced to 36 in 2010 and again increased from 109 in 2011 to 330
in 2012.

According to Dr Karikari the twin diseases
remained a threat to pregnant women and their foetuses, making rubella one of
the leading causes of preventable congenital defects among children in the
country.

Rubella is not the same as measles, though the
two illnesses do share some characteristics, including the red rash however,
rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and is neither as
infectious nor is it as severe as measles, Dr Karikari said.

Rubella a viral infectious human disease is
transmitted either through large aerosol droplets from person to person or through
placenta congenital rubella syndrome with an incubation period of 14 days.

It is also known as German measles or
three-day measles caused by the rubella virus. This disease is often mild with
half of people not realizing that they are infected. A rash may start around
two weeks after exposure and last for three days.

Although Rubella had milder prodromal
symptoms, when a pregnant woman contracts it, the unborn baby might be born
with abnormalities known as congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) which could cause
blindness, deafness, cataracts, heart defects, small heads, mental retardation,
bone alterations, liver and spleen damage as well as diabetes and autism.

Measles on the on the other hand is a very
contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and
saliva of an infected person who can also release the infection into the air
when they cough or sneeze.

The measles virus can live on surfaces for
several hours.

He assured that the vaccines were safe and
effective and had been in use for many years towards achieving measles free
society across the world.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Kwamena
Duncan, the Regional Minister, described measles-rubella as a major killer that
ranked second to malaria in Ghana.

It accounted for about 7.3 percent deaths in
children through illnesses and disabilities.

Vaccination, however contributed greatly to
the reduction in Measles and Rubella with the classical measles cases reported
in the 1970s, were now rarely seen.

He explained that, the supplementary
immunization activities were an effective strategy for delivering vaccination
to children and also increase vaccination equity.

GNA

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