Dr Senanu Kwesi Dzokoto, Deputy Volta Regional Director of Health, in charge of Public Health, has called on the citizenry to keep their surroundings clean as a preventive protocol against polio virus.
He said “polio virus thrives and spreads, where there are insanitary conditions” thus it was important for all to support the health service in its quest to eradicate the disease by maintaining a clean environment.
Dr Dzokoto who made this statement at a stakeholder and press briefing meeting in Ho, said Ghana confirmed two events of Polio Virus type 2 in environmental surveillance samples in Koblimagu in Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region and in Agbogbloshie in Accra Metropolis in the Greater Accra Region in July and August 2019 respectively.
The meeting was to solicit support from the media and other relevant stakeholders during the second round of the third phase of the polio immunisation campaign which is slated to take place between October 8 and 11, 2020.
The campaign targeted over four and half million children in Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Volta, Upper West, Western and Western North regions were the first round was conducted and all children who were vaccinated during phase one and those who missed it were qualified to be dosed during this second round.
Dr Dzokoto said the first human case of Polio Virus type 2 was also confirmed in August 2019 in a sample from a two-year nine months old girl in Chereponi District in the North East Region who developed Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) or floppy lower limbs.
The Deputy Director said polio was an infectious disease, which could affect the spinal cord causing muscle weakness and paralysis, and one could contract the disease through eating or drinking contaminated food and water respectively.
Dr Dzokoto said the outbreak of the virus in the country had been linked to an ongoing outbreak in the West African sub region, however any country that had its population fully immunized, would be protected against all forms of polioviruses, thus the need to ensure all eligible children received all routine vaccinations on time.
“Currently, 11 out of the 16 regions in the country have confirmed at least a case and or reported an environmental event of type 2 polio outbreak.
Outbreaks of vaccine derived poliovirus can be stopped with 2 to 3 rounds of supplementary vaccination activities that would boost the immunity levels of the children,” he stated.
Touching on the COVID-19 situation, Dr Dzokoto said the region currently had two active cases, who were all currently on treatment with the death toll still remaining at twelve (12) over the past two months.
He said a total of 672 cases had been confirmed from routine surveillance, contacts tracing, mandatory quarantine and target group for screening since the Region recorded its first case in April, 2020 out of which 658 of them had fully recovered and discharged from isolation.
Dr Dzokoto said the Regional Public Health Emergency Management Committee and the Ghana Health Service had worked well and continued to engage with all stakeholders to maintain the Region’s capacity to manage the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Patronage of routine services has markedly improved as people continue to gain confidence in the safety protocols that have been put in place in health facilities across the Region,” he stated.