Ghana on Friday officially introduced the use of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization program, targeting about one million under-five children.
The introduction of the IPV is part of the global effort to eradicate polio, which is a viral disease that affects people, particularly children, leaving devastating effects like permanent paralysis or death.
In Ghana, the IPV, to be given through injection to babies within 14 weeks and older, in addition to the oral polio vaccine (OPV) during their routine immunization, is expected to better protect children from all polio diseases.
The vaccine will enable the West African country to ensure that substantial proportions of the population, especially children, are protected against the type two Polio virus to reduce risks of an outbreak after Type 2 OPV vaccine withdrawals.
From June 1, the IPV would be made available at all health facilities and vaccination posts throughout the country, and it would be administered concurrently with the OPV.
Ghana has made giant strides in the fight against childhood killer diseases, especially polio, which is a highly infectious viral disease which kills or cripples children for life.
According to Owen Kaluwa, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative to Ghana, the roll out of the IPV into Ghana’s routine immunization was a key milestone towards polio eradication.
He said that was one of the main health priorities aimed at ensuring that no child, regardless of where they live, suffers from or becomes paralyzed by the virus.
According to experts, the IPV vaccination is a critical step to achieving a lasting polio-free country.
The polio virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine from where it could invade the nervous system.
The IPV is safe as it is currently being used in 163 countries globally.
File photo: Rotarians on polio immunization in Ghana from google images