President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed concern over the shortage of childhood vaccines in the country.
The President, delivering the state of the Nation Address on Wednesday, said the shortage if prolonged will affect Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme negatively.
Delivery the 2023 State of the Nation Address on Wednesday, March 8, President Akufo-Addo said government has developed an elaborate programme to secure some of the vaccines.
President Akufo-Addo said this has been treated as an emergency situation for the country.
“Mr Speaker, I must say, however, that the current shortage of some childhood vaccines in the country has concerned me greatly. This shortage, if prolonged, will affect negatively Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme, which has been recognised as one of the most successful in the world.
“The WHO has only recently expressed worry about a steady decline in measles vaccination coverage globally, because of the concentration on the fight against COVID-19.
“In accordance with our desire not to become part of this global trend, Government has taken steps to ensure that stocks of these vaccines are procured and supplied, as a matter of emergency.
“The Ghana Health Service has developed an elaborate programme to catch up on children who have missed their vaccinations immediately stocks arrive.”
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo also insisted that no child has died due to the shortage.
“I want to encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure that eligible children are vaccinated, once this programme begins.
“No child should be denied access to vaccination. Mercifully, so far, not a single child has died as a result of the outbreak,” he added.
Already, over 100 children in the northern part of Ghana are suspected to have contracted measles.
This is according to the President-elect for the Paediatrics Society of Ghana, Dr Hilda Mantebea Boye.
The figures come amid the shortage of baby vaccines nationwide.
Ghana ran out of essential BCG and OPV vaccines as a result of the Ministry of Health’s failure to secure procurement of these vaccines since the year began.
The BCG vaccine is primarily needed to prevent the occurrence of tuberculosis in babies, while the OPV is to prevent polio infections.
Other essential vaccines to prevent diseases such as measles, whooping cough, etc. are also in short supply.