The Minister for Health, Dr Agyeman Mensah, has disclosed that Ghana has not recorded any polio case for the past five years (2003-2007), except for a temporary setback in 2008, when eight wild polio virus cases were reported.
Dr Mensah made the disclosure at the National launch of the National Immunization Day for polio in Accra on Thursday.
The first round of immunization is scheduled to start on 18th of September and end on the 20th of September, while the second round would begin on the 30th of October to the 1st November 2014.
According to Dr Mensah, Polio was endemic in over 125 countries and paralysed about 1,000 children per day, but that through immunization efforts, the incidence had decreased by over 99%, adding that about 2.5 billion children and over 5 million disabilities had been prevented worldwide.
He attributed Ghana Health services’ aggressive response to the disease to WHOs recommended interventions, which included high routine immunization coverage, nation-wide polio vaccination campaigns, mop ups, and active surveillance activities for acute flaccid paralysis to contain the importation of the virus.
He said in spite of world-wide efforts, three countries― Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan―remained endemic.
Dr Mensah said currently, 146 cases had been reported in nine countries worldwide and that until poliovirus transmission was interrupted in these countries, all countries remained at risk of importation of polio.
He listed Somalia, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Ethiopia as countries in Africa that had reported outbreaks this year, with the current outbreak in Africa taking its origin from Nigeria and spreading to other African countries.
Source: ISD (Raymond Kwofie)