The Paediatric Society of Ghana says it has noted with grave concern, reports of shortages of vaccines across the country.
Ghana Health Service has reported outbreak of Measles, a vaccine-preventable disease in the northern region involving 50 children.
A statement issued by the Society dated February 22, 2023 said, “This is the tip of the iceberg as our investigations reveal that more than 90 cases have been recorded in one major facility alone. The shortage extends beyond Measles vaccine to other childhood diseases including Rotavirus, Tuberculosis, and Pneumococcal vaccines.
According to the statement,which is jointly signed by Dr John Adabie Appiah (President) and Dr Angela Osei-Bonsu (Secreatry), “This is a nationwide problem as Northern, Bono East and other regions, including Greater Accra are increasingly reporting shortages of vaccines alongside resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.
The Paediatric Society of Ghana cautioned that, “the current situation could become worse if resources are not made available for the management of these outbreaks among them; surveillance, diagnostic, treatment and community engagement to reverse the direction. Ghana has struggled to meet its target of reducing under-5-mortality (U5M). Unfortunately, the current situation of vaccine shortage risk reversing the gains made over the past 7 years under SDGs.”
The Society therefore reminded “ the government that infectious disease forms the bulk of causes of mortality among children younger than 5 years and that the most effective anti-dote is vaccination of children from birth to 5 years. PSG warns that the failure of Ghana to prioritize procurement of vaccines and prevent supply chain disruptions of immunizing children under the Expanded Programme of Immunization will lead to the reversal of gains in under-5-mortality in the country.”
It thus urged “the Government and our development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and USAID and others as a matter of urgency to take all the necessary steps to stem the negative trend of vaccine shortage to avert further disease outbreaks among children in Ghana.”
The Paediatric Society of Ghana recommended “Ring fence funding for vaccines used against vaccine-preventable diseases to enable a constant supply of vaccine commodities in Ghana to avoid similar challenges.”