Story by Joseph A. Coffie

The Resumption of the Sub-National outbreak response Vaccination Campaign against the "non-wild" type 2 polio has been briefed today 7th September, 2020 under the theme: End Polio Now; Vaccinate all children under 5 years of age.

The Director General of Ghana Health Service Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, welcomed everyone to the 3rd Phase of the fight against the outbreak of 'non-wild' polio in Ghana which started exactly a year ago.

He said, Ghana and the rest of Africa actively joined the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1996 and since then, the country has chalked great successes.

He noted that, "the last indigenious case of wild Polio in the country was detected in 2000. Unfortunately, the country experienced an outbreak of wild Polio due to importation from neighbouring countries in 2003 and subsequently in 2008 with cases reported in each of the years. The country has vigorously persued all four strategies of Polio Eradication namely; Active Surveillance, Improve Routine Immunization, National Immunization Days (NIDs) against polio and Mop-up vaccination Campaigns."

He said, "We have conducted over 50 NIDs with nearly 200 million children vaccinated since 1996. Mop-up campaigns have been conducted in poorly covered areas over the years".

"All these have contributed significantly in raising population immunity against the disease with the result that the country was certified polio free initially in 2007 and the in 2015, after our last outbreak in 2008" he said.

He also said that, the wild type polio virus has not been detected in any part of the continent for at least three consecutive years in the midst of careful surveillance.

He therefore stated that, "it is gratifying to note that the whole world has made tremendous strides against wild Polio with Afghanistan and Pakistan being the only two remaining wild Polio endemic countries".

Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye noted that, as long as wild Polio is found anywhere in the world, the disease remains a threat everywhere and our children need to be continuesly protected through the routine vaccination and vaccination campaigns.

He added that, the health Sector in Ghana has confirmed cases and environmental events of the non-wild strain of polio and type2 also called circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus type2 (cVDPV2).

He noted that, the campaign will be conducted in eight regions in Ghana targeting approximately 4.6 million children under 5 years of age.

He said round 1 of the exercise will start from 10th to 13th September, 2020 and round 2 from 8th to 11th October, 2020.

Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye assured the general public that the vaccine is safe and effective in protecting children from the disabling and potentially deadly disease and is free of charge.

He therefore "implore upon all parents and caregivers to ensure that all children under 5 years of age are vaccinated during the exercise.

"All health workers and volunteers involved in this exercise have been well trained and oriented on COVID-19 prevention protocols". he said.

He however, thanked all health workers and partners particularly WHO, UNICEF, CDC PATH, ROTARY INTERNATIONAL, the LATTER DAY SAINTS CHARITIES, Community volunteers, Traditional and Religious Leaders, the media and all who have contributed in bringing this far the in the journey to eradicate all forms of polio.



Joseph A. Coffie

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