The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched a Novel Oral Polio Vaccine Type 2 (nOPV2) campaign in the Akuapim South Municipality of the Eastern Region.
The campaign is to vaccinate a target of 9,567 children below the age of five against the Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Type 2 (cVDPV2) virus which had been detected in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Ms Emily Osman, the Akuapim South Municipal Director of GHS, said the over 9,000 targeted children would be vaccinated with the Oral Polio Vaccine type 2 (OPV2).
She added that OPV2 was safe and effective in protecting children against lifelong polio paralysis and could foster the end of polio in the country.
Aside from immunising children against polio, Ms Osman said the polio campaign was a national agenda to also strengthen the surveillance of polio disease.
She noted that although the municipality had not recorded any cases of the polio virus, there was a need to immunise children who fell within the age group in the municipality.
Ms Osman observed that the country had currently recorded one case of polio, adding, “Ghana, alongside its neighbours, has had challenges with Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2)”.
She explained that polioviruses occurred when there was low vaccination coverage over a long period in any part of the world coupled with poor sanitation.
To ensure that the over 9,000 targeted children were immunised against the poliovirus, Ms Osman said a house-to-house vaccination strategy would be adopted.
The Ministry of Health with GHS, she said, was conducting two rounds of the nOPV2 campaign slated for September 01 to 04, 2022 and October 06 to 09, 2022 for the first and second rounds of vaccination, respectively.
Ms Lydia Akuateh, the Akuapim South Municipal Coordinating Director, encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated because polio affects the spinal cord, causing paralysis of the upper or lower limbs and can lead to death.
“The vaccines are available in health centres and the vaccination team will be moving from house to house. “Polio is safe, free and given as drops in the mouth,” she noted.
The poliovirus, which consists of three types, is an acute flaccid paralysis caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water with the virus.