The Ashanti Regional Health Directorate is embarking on a two-week immunization exercise against onchocerciasis in eight endemic districts.

Onchocerciasis which is also known as river blindness, is a parasitic tropical disease that affects the eyes and skin and is spread by repeated bites from infected black flies.

The immunization exercise which begins on February 27 to March 12, this year, seeks to immunize 479,746 eligible persons in the selected districts.

The affected districts are Atwima Mponua, Sekyere Afram Plains, Sekyere East, Sekyere Central, Mampong, Ejura Sekyeredumase, Offinso North and Sekyere Kumawu.

Mr Patrick Owusu, Regional Coordinator of Neglected Tropical Diseases, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi that, 1,046 volunteers and 111 sub-district and district supervisors would be deployed for the exercise.

He said eligible persons should be 90cm and above in height and that pregnant women and lactating mothers of less than one week were exempted from the exercise.

Mr Owusu called for the cooperation of the people in the eight districts to avail themselves of the exercise for a successful elimination of the disease.

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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