Wednesday, 29 March

Failure to procure vaccines will reverse gains made to reduce under-5-mortality – PSG

Health News
The PSG reminded government that infectious disease forms the bulk of causes of mortality among children younger than 5 years

 The Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG) has bemoaned the vaccine shortage that has hit certain parts of the country. 

This comes on the back of reports of shortage of vaccines across the country.

In a statement issued by the PSG, it stressed that if urgent steps are not taken to remedy the situation, the country, which has struggled to meet its target of reducing “under-5-mortality (U5M) will reverse its gains.”

Following reports by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), on the outbreak of measles in the Northern region, involving 50 children, the PSG said its investigations reveal that “more than 90 cases have been recorded in one major facility alone.”

It noted that: “The shortage extends beyond Measles vaccine to other childhood diseases including Rotavirus, Tuberculosis, and Pneumococcal vaccines.”

It further noted that: “This is a nationwide problem as Northern, Bono East and other regions including Greater Accra are increasingly reporting shortages of vaccines alongside resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.”

It indicated that: “The current situation could become worse if resources are not made available for the management of these outbreaks among them; surveillance, diagnostic, treatment and community engagement to reverse the direction.”

The PSG reminded “government that infectious disease forms the bulk of causes of mortality among children younger than 5 years and that the most effective anti-dote is vaccination of children from birth to 5 years.”

It also cautioned that failure of the country to “prioritise procurement of vaccines and prevent supply chain disruptions of immunising children under the Expanded Programme of Immunisation will lead to the reversal of gains in under-5-mortality in the country.”

It, therefore, urged government and its “development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and USAID and others as a matter of urgency to take all the necessary steps to stem the negative trend of vaccine shortage to avert further disease outbreaks among children in Ghana.”

Meanwhile, the Health Minister Dr Kwaku Agyeman Manu has been invited to an emergency meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Health.

At the meeting, scheduled to take place today, Tuesday, 28 February 2023, the Minister will be expected to brief the Committee on the current nationwide vaccine shortage.

He is also expected to tell the committee measures put in place by his Ministry to address the situation.

The Committee has also invited the GHS, and other institutions on the same issue.

There is a shortage of vaccines used for routine vaccination in children from child birth to 18 months in some parts of the country.