The government in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has voted GH¢450,000 (¢4.5 billion) for the National Mass Measles Campaign in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The money is for the procurement of needles, syringes and other essentials items for the measles immunisation programme scheduled to take place from November 3 to 6, 2010 nationwide.
About 400, 081 children between the ages of nine and 59 months are expected to be immunised against measles in the region, which is a follow up of the routine immunisation, and also reach out to those who were not covered during the routine one.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and one of the highest causes of under five mortality worldwide. In addition to the measles vaccination, children from nine months to under-five years will receive Vitamin A capsules which helps to give children good eyesight and boost their immunity.
The immunisation campaign is on the theme “Measles kills, immunise your child now”. Measles, which is a killer, is preventable when the child is vaccinated against it.
Speaking at the Regional launch of the campaign/media briefing on integrated 2010 measles/Vitamin A immunisation campaign in Sunyani, Dr Aaron Offei, the Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Health stated that Ghana was one of the countries in the Sub-region that had made significant improvements in measles immunisation.
He noted that in spite of the 90 per cent coverage achieved in the region, there was a need to do more to capture those yet to be reached during the supplementary immunisation campaign.
Dr Offei, therefore, called on all stakeholders, especially the media, to use their medium to create the awareness on the need for every parent to ensure that their children aged from nine months to under five years are immunised.
Dr. E. T. Tinkorang , Deputy Regional Director of Health Service, also in-charge of Public Health, said the immunisation programme had been planned in such a way to ensure safety and the protection of the environment.
He explained that one syringe and needle would be used for each child during the immunisation and once it was used, it would be disposed of immediately without causing any environmental hazards after the programme.
He called for proper co-ordination at the municipal and district levels to ensure the success of the programme, adding that districts should design their programmes in such a way to enable them to capture those in hard-to-reach areas in their districts.
Mr Amofa Boateng, the Regional Disease Control Officer, who spoke on the communication strategy, reiterated the call on the media to create awareness on the need for all to vaccinate their children aged below five years against measles.
He called for co-operation from the public to ensure the success of the programme.