Manhyia hospital records one case of measles amid shortage of vaccines

The Manhyia government hospital in Kumasi has recorded its first case of measles after many years of zero recordings of the disease at the facility.

The authorities of the facility expressed worry about the emergence of the disease and its possible spread in the area due to shortages of vaccines for the treatment of the disease, which mostly affected babies from birth up to at least 18 months.

Currently, the facility does not have vaccines for measles, polio, yellow fever and tuberculosis (BCG).

Mr Darius Adjei Baffour, the Disease Control Officer at the hospital, told the Ghana News Agency during a visit that the situation was becoming unbearable, but hoped the supplies would come in soon.

He said the facility had in stock pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, tetanus diphtheria, inactivated polio vaccine, penta and meningitis vaccines.

Mr Baffour said the hospital had for many years recorded zero cases of measles and other six childhood killer diseases, but the current situation could pose a serious challenge.

Some of the nursing mothers, who had brought their babies to the facility for vaccination, were disappointed when they were told to go back due to lack of vaccines.

They told the GNA that they were worried about the current situation in the country and its possible effects on the health of children.

Mma Ayisha Mohammed explained that she was supposed to come for the last vaccination for her baby but surprisingly, she was told to go away due to the absence of the vaccines.

Another nursing mother, who gave her name only as Sister Amma, appealed to the government to urgently do something about the situation before things got worse.

The nationwide shortage of childhood vaccines has the potential to increase the vulnerability of children to the various diseases the vaccines seek to protect them against.

The government has, however, assured the nation that the vaccines would be available in the country in the “few weeks” but until that, Ghanaians need to pray to avert possible outbreak of some of these diseases across the country.

Already, there have been reported cases of some of these diseases in some parts of the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sunyani Municipality has no record of childhood disease outbreak, Director

Dr Adinkra Kyeremeh, the Sunyani Municipal Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), says there is no record of childhood disease outbreak in the Municipality despite the shortage of childhood vaccines in the country.

Dr Kyeremeh advised mothers not to panic because of the shortage, saying they must rather have hope in Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, the?Health?Minister’s assurance of supplies in the next few weeks.

He observed some mothers out of fear were anticipating an outbreak of childhood diseases to probably affect their children and explained the vaccine was from time to time on schedule dates up to five years.

Dr Kyeremeh told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Sunyani that the shortage of vaccines was nationwide and the Health Minister had assured mothers and Ghanaians that the situation would be addressed soon to ensure the nation’s children were vaccinated accordingly.

Ghana has been experiencing shortages of some childhood vaccines, a situation that has attracted attention from different quarters and interest groups, including the Parliament and the Pediatric Society of Ghana.

According to Dr Kyeremeh, the Health Ministry was working with UNICEF to fast-track the processes to obtain some of the vaccines as early as possible.

He stated?that the Management of the Municipal Health Directorate was managing?the situation tactfully to calm down?parents, whose?children were due for immunisation by?taking?their names?and?contacts so?that?they could be called when the vaccines were?available?to administer to their children.

Dr Kyeremeh said despite the situation and other challenges, post-natal services were still in progress at the health facilities for screening and monitoring of children because their weights were being checked whilst other vaccines available such as vitamin ‘A’ were being given to them (children).

“If the child does not get the vaccine on a scheduled date it does not mean it cannot be taken again at another?time to?serve the same purpose,” he said and entreated parents not to worry so much about the situation.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Risk communicators trained on vaccine Myth, Misinformation and Rumors dashboard

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has trained the Cape Coast Metropolitan risk communication committee on the use of the Myth, Misinformation and Rumors, (MMRs) dashboard.

The USAID Breakthrough Action project in partnership with the GHS has developed the MMRs dashboard to collate information for effective Risk Communication on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim is to understand the beliefs and fears of the public on vaccine hesitancy and carve out targeted and well structured behavioural communication to achieve the much-desired herd immunity against the disease.

The Dashboard is used for gathering data on other communicable diseases and family planning Services.?

The committee, consisting of health workers, representatives of the Ghana Federation of Disabilities (GFD), the Red Cross Society, and the media were equipped with the relevant knowledge and mode of operation of the Dashboard.?

Dr (Mrs) Akosua Agyeiwaa Owusu-Sarpong, the Central Regional Health Director, said Ghana started administering various WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines in March 2021 to minimize COVID-19- associated deaths, as well as hospitalization.

She noted that the roll-out of the vaccination campaign was met with vaccine myths, rumors, misconceptions, and misinformation resulting in vaccine hesitancy among some segments of the Ghanaian population.

Hence, the urgent need to gather the MMRs for understanding and resolution of the issues on the ground.

Dr Owusu- Sarpong encouraged health practitioners and other risk communication stakeholders to lead the change in that direction.

The GHS in collaboration with the USAID Breakthrough Action Project is training Regional and District Risk Communication and social Mobilization (RCSM) Sub-Committees with the needed capacity to address and respond to vaccine related myths, misinformation, disinformation, and misconceptions.

Mr Matthew Ahwireng, Regional Health Promotion Manager, said the Service deemed it paramount to sensitize health workers and committee members to be abreast with issues surrounding the vaccination and possible response to addressing them.

The country has collected a total of 7,479 MMRs with 4,976 recorded from the rural communities, 2,397 from urban and 109 in the media, which include social media, FM, and television, among others.

Of the number, the Central Region recorded 497 with 217 from the rural and 279 urban communities.

Some MMRs include “ Pregnant women will lose their babies if they are vaccinated, so why worry?, are we all not human beings, if some will lose their lives then all are not safe”

“ I am not taking this deadly vaccine, some people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

Vaccines arriving soon – Agyeman Manu assures

Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has given the assurance that vaccines meant for babies will be available in a few weeks.

Some communities across the country have recorded shortage of vaccines for several weeks now, raising concerns amongst some health organizations

About 500 cases of measles have so far been recorded due to shortage of essential vaccines according to Paediatric Society of Ghana

However speaking to the press yesterday, the Health Minister said the vaccines would arrive soon.

“Working with UNICEF, we are fast-tracking the processes, and it is expected that the vaccines would be supplied in the next few weeks All things being equal.”

Source: Ghana Web

Vaccine shortage: No deaths recorded from the recent spike in Measles – Health Minister

Minister for Health Kwaku Agyeman Manu has said efforts are underway to secure adequate vaccines for the country.

This comes on the back of recent reports on the shortage of vaccines in the country.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, on Tuesday, 7 March 2023, the Health Minister said: “Permit me to quote from a World Health Organisation (WHO) recent publication on the subject that puts the challenge we are dealing with into perspective: ‘Ghana’s Ministry of Health has been making efforts to ensure we secure adequate stocks of vaccines despite this global challenge’.”

He revealed that: “We have made all necessary efforts to ensure that despite these challenges, we secure adequate stocks within the next few weeks.”

The Minister also refuted claims that there have been recorded deaths amongst children due to measles as a result of the shortage of vaccines in the country.

“It is important to correct the erroneous impression that there have been deaths from Measles in Ghana recently. For the avoidance of doubt, there have been no deaths from the recently recorded spike in Measles cases.”

The Minister stressed: “Indeed there have been no deaths since 2003 though we have recorded cases annually.”

According to the Health Minister, despite the shortage of vaccines in the country, Ghana still holds an unbeatable record of being one of the best when it comes to immunisation performance.

“Finally, despite this challenge, Ghana’s immunisation performance coverage remains among the best in the world. In 2021 we recorded 95% coverage,” the Health Minister indicated.

He assured Ghanaians of efforts by his Ministry to ensuring that Ghana does not veer off track with regard to immunisation.

“Working with UNICEF, we are fast-tracking the processes and it is expected that the vaccines would be supplied in the next few weeks, all things being equal. The Ministry of Health will ensure that we stay on track with our immunisation record and quickly overcome these bottlenecks,” the Health Minister stated.

Source: Ghana Web

Illegal Miners destroy football field and footpaths of Dagliga Cluster of schools

Major footpaths and a football field for sporting activities of the Dagliga cluster of schools in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region have been destroyed by illegal miners popularly known as galamsayers.

The illegal miners, in their hunt for gold dug pits on portions of the football field and footpaths, thwarting sports activities and endangering the lives of school children and teachers of the school.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to the schools revealed that portions of the field meant for athletics had been destroyed with major footpaths from Logre and Kongo communities leading to the schools also completely destroyed.

At the primary school, the illegal miners could be seen from a distance, about 200 meters away from the school’s compound.

Mr Roger Atidoor, the Head teacher of the primary school, said the destruction of the football field was negatively affecting sporting activities and would completely halt all forms of sports in the school if the illegal miners were not stopped.

According to him, the destruction of the football field would have dire consequences on the school as it would not only mar practical lessons of Physical Education (PE) to unearth talents but would also deny the school the opportunity to expand.

He said all efforts by the schools to stop the illegal miners had proved futile and an official complaint of the issue to the Nabdam District Assembly had so far yielded no good results.

Ms Mary Magdalene Wompakeah, the Nabdam District Director of Education, described the activities by the illegal miners as “a worrying situation that makes it difficult for teachers and students accessing the school”.

Mr Maxwell Divom, the Assemblyman of the Zanlerigu-Dagliga Electoral area said the initial position of the football field poles had to be changed last year because of the illegal mining and if care was not taken the illegal Miners would mine into the school compound.

He said his outfit tried to stop the phenomenon but to no desirable outcome as the miners claimed to be the owners of the land.

He said the issue had since been reported to both the Nangodi and Pelungu police command of the Ghana Police service but no action had been taken as the Police had constantly complained of not having a vehicle to patrol the area.

Ms Agnes Anamoo, the Nabdam District Chief Executive told the GNA that, the activities by the galamsayers had been reported to the Assembly and her outfit was liaising with the police service to bring the perpetrators to book.

She said the assembly was ready to call for the prosecution of culprits and urged residents to help the police with information for the arrest of the illegal miners

A source at the District’s Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) said it was closely monitoring the activities by the miners and would soon crack the whip, adding that, the miners were tipped off when the police visited the site over the weekend leading to no arrest.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Germany’s Baerbock pledges anti-terror aid for Iraq, denounces Iran

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, offered further German support for Iraq at the start of a four-day visit to the country, and pledged ongoing aid in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State.

“In order to ensure that no Iraqi suffers under the terror of Islamic State again, we will keep up the pressure on Islamic State together,” Baerbock said in Baghdad on Tuesday, after a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

Bearbock said Iraq has made impressive gains in the fight against Islamic state, but called the terrorist group a continuing threat in the country. She noted that German soldiers are in Iraq to advise and train security forces as part of an international effort.

Baerbock also met Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad on Tuesday, before flying in the evening to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. She is scheduled to meet Kurdish leaders in Erbil on Wednesday.

Baerbock plans to meet Bundeswehr soldiers on the ground, to get a picture of the German military engagement. US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, in Iraq on an unannounced visit on Tuesday, also met al-Sudani.

The German minister also sharply criticized Iran, calling on the country to stop its missile attacks on Iraqi territory, and echoing Hussein’s demands that Iran respect Iraqi sovereignty.

“The Iranian regime shows with its missile attacks that it not only represses its own population with recklessness and brutality, but is apparently prepared to jeopardize lives and stability in the entire region to maintain power,” Baerbock said.

“This is completely unacceptable and dangerous for the region as a whole,” Baerbock said, noting that the United Nations Charter specifically forbids attacks of this kind.

After arriving in Baghdad on Tuesday, Baerbock said that Iraqi success in building lasting stability and a stable democracy would make it a model for the entire region. The German minister said that is why German has supported Iraq with over €3.4 billion ($3.6 billion) in civilian funds alone since 2014.

But Baerbock also warned that “if new terrorism, Iranian influence or the destruction of livelihoods due to the water crisis were to lead to violence and political division here again, the consequences would also massively affect the neighbouring states.”

Baerbock recalled that Islamic State murdered thousands of men and boys in northern Iraq, and abducted and enslaved women and children.

“Because the world community did not prevent this genocide, we have all the more responsibility to ensure that these crimes are solved and that the survivors receive justice.”

With that in mind, she said, she would talk to the relevant UN authority, visit reconstruction projects and find out about the situation of internally displaced people.

“Not leaving the survivors alone is our obligation and responsibility.”

The US-led coalition against Islamic State liberated more than 4.5 million Iraqis, but attacks continue.

In addition to Iranian attacks and the continuing threat of Islamic State, Baerbock on her visit is also promoting the joint fight against the consequences of the climate crisis “so that the people in Mesopotamia can not only look back on thousands of years of history, but also look to the future with confidence.”

On Wednesday, Baerbock is set to meet with the prime minister of the Kurdish region, Masrour Barzani, and the region’s President Nechirvan Barzani.

Baerbock is also scheduled to visit a camp for internally displaced people who have been driven out by Islamic State since 2014 and visit a documentation centre there about the crimes of Islamic State.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Resign if you cannot effectively deliver on your mandate – Minority to Health Minister

The Minority in Parliament is demanding the resignation of Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu over the shortage of vaccines in the country.

The Minority says the shortage of vaccines in the country, is a clear indication of the government’s ineptitude.

Speaking to journalists, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the Ranking Member of Parliament’s Health Committee, slammed the Minister, saying he must resign if he is unable to effectively carry out his mandate.

He stated that despite the allocation of approximately GH72 million for vaccine procurement, the country has been hit with a Measles outbreak since October 2022 due to vaccine shortages.

“We started recording measles vaccine shortages around October 2022 and this is an emergency situation the minister, and the government have failed and continue to look on several months on.

“This is highly unacceptable especially when these vaccines are not over-the-counter medicines that people can walk in and buy them. These vaccines are very sensitive and highly protected by organizations and states so if we don’t have the vaccines, all the children in this country are at very high risk, especially in the Northern part of the country.”

He said the shortages are “unpardonable because, in the planning of vaccine procurement and its deployment, we are supposed to plan ahead.”

Source: Ghana Web