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General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017


Health Service begins Polio vaccine distribution

The Ghana Health Service has begun distributing Polio vaccines to various health facilities in the country after reports of shortage in July 2017.

The manager for the National Expanded Program of Immunisation (EPI), Doctor George Bonsu told Joy News they have dispatched vaccines to some of the regions.

“So far we have given vaccines to Greater Accra Regional cold room, Central Region and Western Region and we will proceed to Eastern and Volta Regions on Friday, August 4, 2017”, he said.

He revealed further distributions will be made to on the weekend 4th and 5th of August 2017 to other regions and these regional cold rooms will then give the vaccines out to the various health centers in the country.

“We are hopeful that by the second week of August, the vaccines would have gone round the whole country”, Doctor Bonsu added.

He again said the vaccines procured can last for half a year, after which new ones will be procured to ensure there is no shortage.

There have several complaints of shortages of Polio vaccines by agitated nursing mothers in parts of the country.

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and mainly affects children under 5 years of age. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.

The absence of the polio vaccine which has been very successful at curbing polio among infants caused panic among nursing mothers.

One mother told Joy News “I’m looking at what my child is going to go through having polio in the future and that is my biggest fear”.

The shortage was as a result of government’s high indebtedness to UNICEF, the international body that procures the critical vaccine.

Director-General at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, told Joy News in July 2017 that Ghana had cleared some of the debts owed to UNICEF and assured the public the vaccine will soon arrive in the country.

Upon the arrival of the vaccines, Doctor George Bonsu advised nursing mothers who were turned away to report to the various health facilities for their babies to be vaccinated.

“When children come for their routine weighing, we will examine their weighing card and give them any vaccine they have missed”, he said.