The Concern Health Education Project-Ghana has called on government to increase immunisation services in order to prevent children dying needlessly from vaccine preventable diseases and reduce under five mortality.
To this end, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in the area of health advocacy and community education, has called on government to increase its domestic funding for immunisation, within the context of the growing health budget.
A statement signed by Mr Isaac Ampomah, the President of the Concern Health Education Project, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday also urged the government’s health system to be ready at all times for effective and efficient immunisation responses.
It said immunisation, which had a significant impact on under five mortalities in Ghana and around the world, which currently averted an estimated two to three million deaths every year and a further 1.5 million deaths, could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improved.
“Two. Four million Children worldwide currently miss out on essential and basic vaccines, whilst Ghana’s immunisation rates were once an impressive 98 per cent in 2014 but have worryingly declined to 89 per cent in 2015 this is a result of many defaulters and miss out children.
“Ghana must see immunisation as a priority to ensure immunisation rates increase, as we wait for new vaccine yet to be added soon,” it said. The statement, therefore, urged government to see civil society as a partner and friend and not as a competitor for donor funding for immunisation, adding that “Government, CSOs and the donor community must advocate enough logistics, availability of weighing scale, adequate… child record booklets and the refrigerated cold chain facilities for all health sectors in Ghana.”
According to the statement, government opening up its health systems and integrating child education where immunisation would be seen as a priority with urgent measures taken to share the plan for transition from GAVI support for input from the private sector would help address the problem in the country.
It appealed to government to see to the expansion of Men-A vaccinations as the surest way to protect children from meningitis. “Government and the donor community must see routine immunisation as a service that guarantees a child survival and not as the usual charity,” it added. The statement however noted Concern Health Education Project’s support and readiness at all times to work with government to push the immunization agenda forward both locally and internationally.
World Immunisation Week is April 24 to April 30 and around the world, governments, NGO’s advocates and health professionals celebrate what has been achieved with immunisation, as well as looking for solutions to address the challenge. Immunisation is one of the most cost effective health interventions providing 16 dollars in return for every one dollar invested.
It prevents illness, disability and death caused by vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, meningitis, polio, rotavirus, rubella and tetanus.