Polio vaccination underway in Ahafo, Bono East, Oti regions
The first two fresh polio cases were recorded in Techiman and Sampa in Bono Region
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) yesterday began an exercise to vaccinate all children under five years in the Bono East and the Bono regions to contain the outbreak of poliomyelitis in the area.
The exercise, which ends on Saturday, January 11, this year, will also cover the Oti Region.
The outbreak has led to the death of two children in the Ahafo and the Bono East regions, while a third child is battling for survival at the Sunyani Municipal Hospital.
The first victim was a 33-month-old female from Sisala line, a suburb of Techiman in the Bono East Region, while the second death involved a 37-month-old male from Kwasuso, a farming community in the Asutifi South District in the Ahafo Region.
The third child, who is undergoing treatment, is a two-year-old female from Asiri, another farming community in the Jaman North District in the Bono Region.
The first two fresh polio cases were recorded in Techiman and Sampa in the Bono Region between October and December last year.
Speaking at a press conference in Sunyani ahead of the immunisation exercise last Tuesday, the Deputy Bono Regional Director of Public Health, Dr John Ekow Otoo, who is also in charge of the Bono East and the Ahafo regions, said the GHS had targeted 570,864 children under five years for immunisation against poliomyelitis in the three regions.
He explained that teams involved in the exercise would move from house to house, visit schools and establish posts at the various health facilities to immunise the children.
He said the second round of the exercise would be organised in the four regions from February 5 to 8, this year.
He said there was no cure for polio, emphasising that it could only be prevented through immunisation, and, therefore, appealed to parents and guardians to cooperate with the vaccination teams to ensure that all children under five years were covered to help kick out polio, which destroyed the future of children.
Dr Otoo explained that since July 2019, Ghana had been experiencing outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio virus Type 2 (cVDPV2) from environmental surveillance sites and in humans in many parts of the country.
He said the cases had been reported from Chereponi, Saboba, Kumbungu, and Savelugu in the Northern Region, Central Gonja in the Savanna Region and Nkwanta North in the Oti Region.
He pointed that the confirmation of cVDPV2 in the country had led to the declaration of a public health emergency by the Ministry of Health, which, together with the GHS and other partners, had developed a plan to break the transmission and contain the polio virus.
Dr Otoo said initial symptoms of polio included fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs.
He said in a small proportion of cases, the disease caused paralysis, which was often permanent.