The Upper East Region will this week have its turn in the polio vaccination exercise with a two-round event for children under five years.
The exercise, being undertaken by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), is in response to a confirmed case of vaccine derived Polio Type Two Virus (cVDPV2) in a two-year-old child that developed an acute flaccid paralysis on July 23, 2019 at Andonyama, a sub-district of Chereponi in the Northern Region, on July 23, 2019.
About 1,400 community health volunteers will support health personnel in the region to visit houses, markets, schools and other important places for the beneficiaries to receive the vaccination.
The Regional Director of the GHS, Dr Winfred Ofosu, who made this known at a media briefing on the supplementary polio vaccination at Bolgatanga yesterday, stated that the first round would start from today, September 25, 2019 and end on Saturday, September 28, 2019 while the second round would begin on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 and end on Saturday, October 19, 2019.
Giving a background to the outbreak of the disease, the director observed that in early July, 2019, the polio Type Two virus was confirmed in an environmental sample collected in June, 2019 from the Tamale metropolis.
Dr Ofosu further explained that an additional cVDPV2 positive environmental sample was collected from the Accra district in the Greater Accra Region on August 13, 2019.
“These positive environmental samples and the case of cVDPV2 appear to be linked to the strain of vaccine derived polio virus that emerged in Jigwa State in Nigeria, which subsequently spread to other parts of Nigeria,” the director pointed out.
Dr Ofosu stressed that poliomyelitis was a highly infectious viral disease that affected mainly young children.
He said the virus was transmitted from person-to-person through faecal-oral route from contaminated water or food.
“The virus multiplies in the intestine from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis; the weakness most often involves the limbs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm,” the director said.
Dr Ofosu assured caregivers and the general public that “all our vaccines are safe and has over the years reduced the number of diseases and deaths in the region”.
He entreated the public to always wash their hands regularly with soap under running water and to ensure that they did not defecate in the open.