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Immunization boost in Volta region

Immunization coverage in the Volta Region is recording great improvement under a three-month intensive campaign on “Social Mobilization and Demand Generation of Caregivers” aimed at raising awareness on key immunization of infants in their second year.

The project christened “Second Year of Life Project” (2YL) and with support from the Health Promotion Department (HPD) and the Family Health Department of the Ghana Health Service, is ensuring that infants completed the two-year immunization cycle towards achieving the Measles elimination goal of 95 per cent by 2020.

Statistics from the Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI) indicate that over 40 per cent of children in the region had not been immunized from 2013 to first half of 2017.

The Ho Municipal Directorate of the Ghana Health Service also noted that less than 50 per cent of children born in the Municipality got immunized against vaccine preventable diseases.

The Directorate said it recently recorded two neonatal tetanus cases, which resulted in one fatality and that the city sat on a “health time-bomb”.

At a World Immunization Day durbar at Hodzo, near Ho this year, Dr. Senanu Kwesi Djokoto, the Municipal Director of the Ghana Health Service, said though diseases such as Poliomyelitis, Measles, and Tuberculosis had been eradicated, the Ho Municipal area risked recording those outbreaks again due to negligence.

The project under the theme, “Protecting Children from Vaccine Preventable Diseases by strengthening the 2YL Immunization Platform in Ghana,” is engaging stakeholders including UNICEF, Red Cross, and the Ghana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations in Health (GCNGH).

The GCNGH have pitched camp in hundreds of “low immunization-performing” communities in the Region from September 01, administering “catch-up for missed vaccines, especially the second dose of Measles Rubella.

Mr Victor Attah Ntumi, Regional Chairman, GCNGH, told the GNA that the exercise was yielding positive results with “amazing participation of parents, traditional authorities and opinion leaders”.

He said the NGOs were using door-to-door visitations, durbars and community engagements to educate parents on the exercise and reach out to all missed out children under five years.

They are also expected to conduct growth monitoring, mosquito net distribution and provide Vitamin A supplementation.

Dr Joseph Opare, Project Coordinator, 2YL, at the launch of the project said whiles the immunogenicity of Measles vaccine improved by age, a greater percentage of mothers were not reporting for successive doses of the Measles vaccine and asked health workers, as major stakeholders, to provide adequate information on the exercise.

He cited among others, the lack of a clear national policy, low coverage rates and varied understanding of the vaccination cycle, as challenges facing disease control through immunizations.

Source: GNA