Friday, April 27, 2012

Ghana introduces two new vaccines in National Immunization Program

WHO in the African Region, Ghana: Two new vaccines: April 26. 2012
Ghana today made history as the first African country to simultaneously introduce pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines in its national immunization programme in a bid to fight pneumonia and diarrheoal diseases, each of which accounts for approximately 10 per cent of under-five deaths in the country.
Ghanaian First Lady, H. E. Dr Ernestina Naadu Mills, said at a ceremony in Accra marking the introduction of the two life-saving vaccines:

"I am happy to announce that vaccines against pneumonia will from today be available at all health centres and hospitals. Children will be given three doses of the vaccine at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.
Also, rotavirus vaccines will be administered to children aged 6 and 10 weeks."
In his remarks, WHO Deputy Director-General, Dr Asamoah-Baah, praised Ghana's "bold" decision to introduce the two vaccines at the same time and spoke of the phenomenal progress Ghana had made over the years in immunization coverage from a national coverage of 4% with just one antigen in 1985 to a national coverage of 90% with nine antigens in 2012.

My view: I take a lot of lectures for Pediatricians across India. Given that new vaccines are one of my areas of special interest, I enjoy teaching about controversies & questions related to these in various fora. However, I always like to say that if we could get Rotavirus & Pneumococcal vaccines in our National Schedule, we could reduce the mortality rates tremendously in India. Now that Ghana has shown the way, we too should take support from GAVI and do this good deed. Our next generation will surely thank the politicians who take this initiative, and we will end up saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

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