The Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG) has trained healthcare professionals to effectively manage vaccine-related diseases in the country, especially during the period of a vaccine shortage.
The webinar capacity building was to increase awareness of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles among healthcare professionals and increase their knowledge and confidence in the detection, investigation, and clinical management of children with such cases.
This was in response to the recent outbreak of measles, and the shortage of some childhood vaccines in the country.
Data according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) indicate that 398 cases of measles were recorded in 2022 and 33 cases at the beginning of 2023 with the figures being recorded in Tamale, Kumasi, and Takoradi.
Dr John Adabie Appiah, the President of the Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG), speaking during a webinar, said healthcare professionals played an important role in vaccination uptake and disease prevention and as such the training was relevant and would enhance their service delivery.
He said the training would build the capacity of health professionals to manage outbreaks, surveillance, laboratory confirmation, and care of affected patients.
Dr Adabie, speaking on the vaccine shortage issue, stated that irrespective of fiscal, economic, and insurance status, vaccines must be made accessible to babies and children to complete all scheduled immunisations.
He said to prevent future vaccine shortages there was a need for partnership from academic institutions, vaccine licensing authorities, public health institutions, governmental organisations, and physicians among others within the vaccine manufacturing industry.
Participants were trained on global/national trends of measles resurgence- the role of co-financing, local suspected case reports, clinical presentation, case notification, and investigation.
The other topics included infection prevention and control, management of measles, nursing care for a child with measles as well as advocacy for improvement in childhood vaccines stock.
Ghana over the weekend, received its first consignment of the BCG vaccines and oral Polio vaccines to help address the vaccine shortage.
In another interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Dr Gabrielle Obeng- Koranteng, the General Secretary-elect of the PSG, urged mothers to report to their immunisation centres to have their children receive the missed vaccines to boost their immunity and prevent needless death.
She encouraged mothers to breastfeed even more during this period of vaccine shortage as breastmilk contains antibodies and other immune cells which protected babies from diseases including measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
“Continue to practice all the good hygiene methods learnt during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect both mothers and children from preventable diseases.
Give children balanced diets, fruits, and vegetables to enable them to grow healthy and report to the hospital early if you see suspected signs of measles in children.” Dr Obeng-Koranteng stated.