Bawumia discusses polio immunisation with Bill Gates 

Ghana has been polio-free for the better part of the past decade, but recently some infections have been recorded

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has held talks with the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, over Ghana’s current situation with the new vaccine-derived poliovirus type-2 (cVDPV2).

They discussed the country’s progress on immunisation against the disease, which is capable of paralysing children below the age of five.

The new vaccine-derived poliovirus can emerge in settings with low poliovirus immunity and can equally cause paralysis.

Ghana has been polio-free for the better part of the past decade, but recently some infections have been recorded. 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been providing aid to various countries, however, to help eradicate the disease.

Good exchange 

Dr Bawumia described the encounter as a good exchange of views. He also expressed gratitude to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its continuous support in the fight against polio.

In a Facebook post, Dr Bawumia said Ghana’s digitisation strategy and COVID-19 response policy were also discussed.

“It was a good exchange of views and he congratulated Ghana for the strides we have made on several fronts. I also thanked him and the Gates Foundation for their successful work in the fight against polio and other diseases.”


New infections

In 2008, Ghana attained polio-free status. That ended in 2019, however, when an infection was recorded in the Northern Region.

In the past 12 months, many more infections have been recorded in other parts of the country, bringing the total number to 30.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has since taken steps to vaccinate about 4.6 million children across the country.

The vaccination campaign commenced on 10 September and will end on 11 October 2020. 

The polio outbreak has been ascribed to poor sanitation and the wide gap in vaccination for children since Ghana was declared polio-free. 

E A Alanore

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