Photo: A nurse administering a malaria vaccine to a child to mark the beginning of the expanded immunisation programme
Health practitioners and experts have bemoaned the shortage of child immunisation vaccines across the country since the beginning of the year.
Although the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has assured the vaccines will be restocked soon, the situation doesn’t seem to calm nerves. This is due to the critical nature of the vaccines as well as the spread of measles in some parts of the country.
In an interview with JoyNews, President-elect of the Pediatric Society of Ghana, Dr. Hilda Manteybea Boye said “we risk having children die” as a result of the shortage.
She has therefore urged the Ghana Health Service to expedite action.
“It is the action that we are looking for. So whatever it will take for them to get us the vaccines like today, because every day we risk having children die from this shortage,” she said.
Currently, 16 districts in the Northern Region have recorded cases of measles.
Head of Pediatrics and Child Health at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Professor Alhassan Abdul Mumin confirmed the measles outbreak, indicating that there is no district in the Northern Region, that has not recorded an outbreak of measles for most of the children who were born since 2022.
On his part, a Neurosurgeon and General Secretary of the Islamic Medical Association of Ghana, Dr. Hardy Abdullah says the shortage can affect the development of a child’s nervous system.
“The long-term effects, especially measles and Rubella could have an impact on the baby’s central nervous system. And so as a country, the fact that we can’t get the vaccine is unfortunate.”
The health experts and practitioners are therefore intensifying pressure on the government on the need to secure the three essential vaccines for babies.
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has appeared before Parliament to brief the House on the development.
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