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GHS To Vaccinate 199,197 Children Against Measles In U/E   
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Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of Health has said the Directorate targeted to vaccinate about 199,197 children from age nine months to five years against measles rubella under the Supplementary Immunisation Activities (SIAs) in the region.

He said the exercise which was expected to commence from October 17 to October 22, 2018, would be done by a total number of 249 health teams made up of 249 vaccinators and 746 trained volunteers who were equipped to effectively implement the exercise.

The Director indicated that “mobile teams will be stationed at various communities and schools, and fixed teams will be at various health facilities.”

He used the opportunity to appeal to all caregivers to visit any of the immunisation points to have their children within the age group vaccinated, regardless of whether their weighing cards were available or not.

Dr Ofosu, disclosed this at the Regional launch of the measles-rubella and vitamin A campaign, on the theme: “Measles and Rubella Kill; Vaccinate your Child Now for Good Life, ”said the exercise would be successful if only health officials successfully mobilised all eligible children in the region and vaccinated them against the antigens.

He said measles was well-known in communities, and almost every community had a local name for it, because of its devastating effects, and recalled that before the advent of vaccines for measles, one could only be sure a child would live after surviving measles epidemic.

Dr Ofosu said the aftermath of every measles epidemic was malnutrition, pneumonia, skin and eye infections which sometimes led to blindness and death, “today the story is different, medical students have difficulties seeing a case during their training. Thanks to vaccination,” he added.

The Director said measles and rubella were contagious viral diseases and remained the cause of death and congenital abnormalities among children globally, despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines.

He said even though measles deaths had decreased by 84 percent worldwide, the disease was still common in many developing countries, and disclosed that all 22 suspected cases of measles reported in the region for the first half of 2018, tested negative.

He said under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella were targeted for elimination in the World Health Organisation regions by 2020, adding that “to achieve this elimination target, two doses of measles rubella vaccines were needed for children under 5years (9 months and 18 months).”

Dr Ofosu observed that certain individuals or population groups continued to remain susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, either because they were missed by routine immunisation or because of primary vaccination failures and said when the entrance of infected measles case in unimmunised children was not detected, they grew over a period and resulted in outbreaks.

This, he said was the rationale for organising SIAs periodically with efforts to reach every eligible child, “this is an effective strategy for delivering vaccination to children missed by routine services for example; the hard-to-reach and underserved groups and communities.”

Dr Ofosu used the opportunity to appeal to all caregivers to visit any of the immunisation points to have their children within the age group vaccinated, regardless of whether their weighing cards were available or not.

Mr Frank Fuseini Adongo, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf, gave the assurance of government’s continuous support to expand the range of immunisation programmes to secure a robust human capital base for national transformation.

He said government would continue to develop clear sustainable plans for vaccines in the country, including decentralising the storage of 50 percent of all health commodities to the regional medical stores.

In the same vein, the Deputy Minister appealed to parents, guardians and all caregivers to avail their qualified children for this opportunity to secure them against the huge burdens of disease, disability and death from the menace of measles and rubella.
Source: GNA

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