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Polio Outbreak Was Because Of Poor Sanitation Practices – Ghana Health Service

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has attributed the resurfaced Polio virus outbreak reported in parts of the country in 2019 to poor sanitation practices in most of the affected communities.

It therefore called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to re-evaluate their sanitation programmes to help promote environmental cleanliness to forestall any future outbreak.

Dr. John Ekow Otoo, the Deputy Director, Public Health at the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Directorate of Health said the responsibility was placed on the MMDAs to ensure that people lived in clean environment.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani on the recent outbreak of Polio virus in parts of the country, Dr. Otoo said poor sanitation contributed largely to the outbreak of the virus in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.

Last year, the GHS reported several cases from Chereponi, in the North East Region, Kumbungu, and Savelugu in the Northern Region, Central Gonja in the newly created Savanna Region, and Nkwanta North in the newly-created Oti Region.

In the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions, two of three children who were infected died whilst the other victim survived with some level of paralysis.

Cases were reported from Asiri community in the Jaman North District of the Bono, Sissalaline in the Techiman Municipality of Bono East, and Kwasuso community in the Asutifi South District of the Ahafo regions where 24-month-old girl, 33-month-old-girl and 37-month old boy were infected respectively.

But, the Regional Directorate with support from its partners held a supplementary vaccination exercise to protect children against the poliomyelitis in the three regions.

Dr. Otoo told the GNA the Directorate was able to exceed its target during the four day campaign which started from January 7 to 11, this year.

He said instead of 570,864 targeted children below five years in the three regions, the campaign covered 577,604 children, and expressed appreciation for the support and cooperation parents gave to the field officers.

In a breakdown, he said 119,866 children were vaccinated in Ahafo, 235,422 in Bono and 222,316 in Bono East, saying for the children to get full benefit, a second round exercise would be organised from February 5 to 8, this year and advised parents to make their children available for the second dose.

Dr. Otoo commended the media for their support, and called on them to intensify education on the next campaign to achieve desirable success.

Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.

The virus is transmitted by person to person and spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or less frequently, by a common vehicle such as contaminated food and water and multiplies in the intestines from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs.

There is no cure for polio, and it can only be prevented by immunization.


Source: GNA

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