Parents urged to complete vaccination packages, welfare services of children

Parents, especially nursing mothers, have been advised to ensure the completion of their children’s immunisation packages and child welfare services by age five.

Dr Naziru Tanko, the Deputy Programme Manager, Ghana’s Expanded Programmes on Immunization, made the call during a two-day training workshop to equip media professionals with the tools and knowledge to effectively communicate the importance of vaccination.

It was organised by the African Media and Malaria (AMMREN) in partnership with Ghana Health Service and the World Health Organization, on vaccines uptake in Ghana for selected journalists across the country.

He said it was unfortunate that some nursing mothers stopped attending postnatal services when their babies were about nine to 10 months old.

It was imperative to send babies to be weighed regularly from birth and continue till age five to enable them to receive all the recommended vaccines.

Dr Tanko noted that the risk in unvaccinated children, particularly in urban areas, posed a signifi
cant threat to the health and well-being of the population.

He said parents played a crucial role in ensuring their children received all the recommended vaccinations by age five to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and protect children from serious illnesses.

Dr Tanko urged parents to put in place measures in safeguarding their children’s health by adhering to vaccination schedules recommended by healthcare givers.

Vaccination not only protected individuals but also contributed to the overall health of the community by preventing outbreaks of vaccine- preventable diseases, he noted.

Ghana, like many African countries, faced the challenge in achieving optimal vaccination coverage, partly because of fear, myths, misinformation and misconception about vaccines and stressed the need for continuous education and awareness campaigns to address those issues and encourage vaccine uptake, the Deputy Programme Manager said.

‘Vaccines are safe, effective and crucial for the health and wellbeing of children
. By vaccinating our children, we are investing in a healthier future for our nation,’ he said.

He reminded parents and healthcare givers to ensure children received the recommended vaccination not only to protect their health but also strengthen the resilience of the entire country against preventable diseases.

Touching on the country’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Dr Tanko said the EPI had significantly evolved over the past 20 years after its launch in 1978.

He said with its main mandate of contributing to poverty reduction by reducing the magnitude of vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization as an essential component of Primary Health Care, the programme had seen an increase in number of vaccines it delivered routinely to children and pregnant women.

From an initial six antigens against the six childhood killer diseases, the number has increased to 11-vaccines, including malaria vaccine that is being piloted in seven regions.

The programme now vaccinates against 14 vaccine -preventabl
e diseases, Dr Tanko said, and that plans were afoot to include the COVID-19 in the routine vaccines.

The journalists were taken through topics like Immunisation as a Global Tool for Public Health Intervention, and Ghana’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation: The journey so far.

Others were the development of Vaccines and How Vaccines Work in Disease Prevention, Vaccine Financing, The COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccine Hesitancy: The Ghana Experience, and Media as Partners in Vaccine Uptake in Ghana.

Source: Ghana News Agency