The Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and partners are set to embark on a polio outbreak reactive mass vaccination in all 29 districts in the Greater Accra and seven other regions across the country.
The house to house vaccination campaign will be carried out by trained community health nurses from Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, September 13, 2020, and will be repeated on Thursday, October 8 to Sunday, October 11, 2020, for all children under age five.
A statement from the Ghana Health Service and signed by Dr Luiz Amoussou-Gohoungo, Deputy Director Public Health, Greater Accra, and copied the Ghana News Agency said the exercise was in response to the increasing numbers of polio confirmed cases in both human and environmental samples.
It said the Greater Accra region had already carried out two previous reactive campaigns but failed to achieve the needed coverage due to the refusal of caregivers to avail children for the vaccination, an attitude that had rendered the investment made to protect the future generation unproductive.
The statement, therefore, called on all caregivers to allow their children to be vaccinated by the mobile team because the type of vaccine being used in response to the outbreak was not available at the regular child welfare clinic (weighing).
Polio is an infectious disease that can paralyze and even cause death. It enters the body through water or food that has been contaminated with infected faeces. Polio affects both children and adults, but children under five years of age are most at risk.
The signs and symptoms of Polio include; fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, pain, and weakness in the limbs.
Polio has no cure and can only be prevented through immunization, good hygiene, and sanitization practices.
The vaccine is given at birth or soon after birth and subsequent doses are given at six weeks (drops), ten weeks (drops), and fourteen weeks (drops and injection).
The vaccine is safe, effective, and free and given multiple times and can protect a child for life.
In addition to immunization, one must also do the following to keep safe; always wash hands with soap under running water after using the toilet or cleaning a baby’s backside after toilet, before eating or preparing food.
Food and water must always be covered to prevent contamination, fruits and vegetables washed under running water before eating or use.
Individuals are also to maintain a high level of personal and environmental hygiene.
Parents are to ensure children completed their immunization and report to the nearest health facility with any sudden paralysis in children under fifteen years of age within 24 hours.