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Regional News of Saturday, 27 July 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

No Polio in Tamale

Investigations conducted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and partners have established that no child in the Tamale metropolis has been identified to have paralytic polio.

The investigations were necessitated by an announcement put forth by the GHS on July 10, this year to the effect that a type 2 virus of polio had been detected in the environment in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana which thus constituted a public health emergency.

The investigations were to identify a possible source of the infection and determine the extent of geographic spread.

Statement

A statement issued by the GHS yesterday said majority of children in the metropolis had completed the routine immunisation procedure which included polio in the recent past.

Referring to the announcement on detection of the virus, the statement said, "Following the announcement, deliberate efforts had been made to respond to this emergency: Public Health Emergency Management Committees at the national, regional and metropolis have been activated and meet regulary to assess the situation.”

It said a team of experts from the GHS, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and other partners were deployed to support health teams in the Northern Region and the Tamale metropolis, in particular, to conduct detailed field investigations and identify the possible source of infection and determine the extent of geographical spread.

According to the statement, a risk assessment was also conducted to find out the potential for further spread, including transmission to humans.

Intensive surveillance

Touching on other activities that had been undertaken, the statement said active surveillance, communication, social mobilisation activities, review of records from health facilities and assessment of polio vaccination status of children in the affected area and beyond were enhanced.

“Further samples have been taken from healthy children and additional sites from the environment (different parts of same drain and other drains) for laboratory testing.

“The Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service, together with partners, are monitoring the situation closely and preparing an appropriate and comprehensive response which will include enhanced surveillance across the country and particularly in Tamale and its environs, as well as search for suspected cases of polio,” the GHS said.

Advice

The GHS encourages the general public to observe good personal hygiene and sanitation practices.

Among areas that needed attention, it said, were washing hands regularly with soap under safe running water at all times, cleaning babies properly after defecation, avoiding open defecation, cleaning the toilet and surfaces contaminated with faeces with disinfectant or ash, and parents and caregivers ensuring that children complete all vaccinations within the times earmarked.