Health Minister, others to be in Parliament today over vaccine shortage

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, is scheduled to appear before Parliament’s Health Committee to answer questions about the country’s shortage of childhood vaccines.

Vaccines for diseases such as measles, polio, and tuberculosis have been scarce in hospitals.

Despite the Ghana Health Service’s assurances that it will make every effort to distribute vaccines, the situation is yet to improve.

Officials from the Ghana Health Service, the Vaccine Control Programme, the Ministry of Finance, the National Health Insurance Authority, and the Global Fund are also expected to be present.

After today’s appearance, the Minister, would go to Parliament on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, to brief the house on steps being taken to address the country’s shortage of vaccines.

The Northern Region and other parts of the country have been experiencing vaccine shortages for several months, with no solution in place.

Analysts have warned, Ghana may have an outbreak of childhood diseases if immediate steps are not taken to procure vaccines for immunizing children.

The Paediatric Society of Ghana for example added to this caution on the back of reports of vaccine shortages nationwide.

According to the Paediatric Society of Ghana, the reports are just the tip of the iceberg since more facilities are recording an outbreak of measles.

120 cases of measles were recorded in the Northern Region by end of December 2022 due to the shortage of essential vaccines.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has acknowledged the vaccine shortages and attributed the situation to the free fall of the cedi against major trading currencies, especially the dollar.

Under the routine vaccination programme, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease; oral polio vaccine 0 (OPV); Measles-Rubella; Meningitis and Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) are administered.

Vaccines against polio, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B (DPT/Hep B/ Hib 1) and six infectious diseases that are particularly dangerous to babies are also among those administered.


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