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2016 African Vaccination & Child Health promotion week launched

Friday, 06 May 2016 11:22

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe, has observed the country has made a significant gain in reduction of morbidity and mortality among children Under-five years since the introduction of the Expanded Programme on Immunization in Ghana in 1978.

“It is worthy to note that since 2002, Ghana has not recorded any deaths from measles and no case of wild polio virus infection has been reported since 2008,” Dr Bampoe said.

“Neonatal tetanus has also been eliminated from the country since 2008.”

The Deputy Minister made the observation in a speech read on his behalf by the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Afisah  Zakaria, at the national launch of the 2016 joint commemoration of African Vaccination and Child Health Promotion Week in Accra on Thursday, May 5.

This year’s celebration on the theme: “Good Life, Start Right; Close the Immunization Gap” with the slogan “Stay Polio Free” is slated for 9th – 13th May, 2016.

According to Dr. Bampoe, the successes can only be attributed to improvements in routine immunization services, disease surveillance and successful National Immunization Days the nation has chalked over the years.

He said although Ghana did not meet its MDG target for child mortality, “it is encouraging to note that under-five mortality rate has been reduced from 111 to 60 deaths per thousand live births between 2003 and 2014”.  

This according to him “shows that our efforts have not been in vain and calls for intensified action to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Programmes Manager of the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) of the GHS, Dr. George Bonsu, in his presentation, observed that despite the country’s achievements in immunization of polio since 1996, one in every five children still does not receive all the basic vaccines they need.

This he attributed to numerous challenges relating to health systems including family and community factors that do not maximize community participation. 

The EPI boss called for sustained effort on the part of government as well as constant participation of all babies Under-five years in the country towards complete closure of the country’s immunization gap.

The child health promotion week (CHPW) has been celebrated in May each year since 2004.

It is one of the strategies adopted by the Ghana Health Service and partners to link up with families and the general public towards the healthy growth and development of all children living in Ghana. 

The African vaccination week also offers a platform to create awareness on other life-saving interventions such as vitamin A supplementation, insecticide-treated nets for protection against malaria, deworming and cholera, exclusive breastfeeding and growth monitoring.

By Joseph Kobla Wemakor|Accra|Ghana