Ghana is set to launch next week, a pilot vaccination programme aimed at preventing cervical cancer in women. It will involve the vaccination of girls in four selected districts of the country against human papillomavirus, which is the leading cause of female cancer deaths.
First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Dramani Mahama is expected to launch the pilot project in Dodowa near Accra in the Greater Accra Region on Monday.
President John Mahama, in his remarks to open a mid-term review meeting of the GAVI Alliance in Stockholm, Swweden on Wednesday, said the introduction of the HP4 vaccine is one the successes of the collaboration with GAVI.
“Ghana is one of the partners in this private-public-partnership, and as a result of this partnership, we have accelerated the uptake of, and will continue to introduce new life-saving vaccines, which are one of the most cost-effective health investments in history”, President Mahama stated.
Ghana’s successful implementation of vaccination programmes has been lauded at the meeting, but President Mahama says the country has rather been a great beneficiary of the GAVI partnership.
GAVI has congratulated Ghana for the introduction of two life-saving vaccines simultaneously. This was in April last year, when Ghana became the first country to ever do that with the introduction of vaccines against the two top killers of children under five, pneumonia and diarrhoea caused by rotavirus.
According to Mr. Mahama, over the last decade, Ghana has been able to deliver a range of life-saving vaccines that have averted an estimated 700,000 future deaths, an achievement he attributed to the support of GAVI.
Mr. Mahama who co-hosted the review meeting with Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation however cautioned GAVI implementation countries, donors, GAVI partners, vaccine manufacturers, civil society and the private sector against complacency.
“This is not a time for us, or any other country, to be complacent. There is still a long way to go to ensure that everyone has equal access to immunisation. Huge challenges remain in Ghana – we are still lagging behind on MDG 4 on child mortality and on MDG 5 on maternal health. There are a number of health system bottlenecks we are working to address with support from the GAVI Alliance and other partners, such as training, data quality, supply chain issues and transportation.”