By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey/ Dorcas Stephens
Accra, Oct. 04, GNA-Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Health have asked the government to prioritise funding for vaccines and childhood immunisations in the 2024 budget.
They said the commitment was necessary to forestall the shortage of vaccines as experienced in previous years.
The CSOs made the call at a stakeholder engagement organised by SEND GHANA and Hope for Future Generation in Accra, to solicit input into the 2024 national budget.
Mrs Cecelia Sengoo, Executive Director for Hope for Future Generation, said the country must own the national vaccination drive, make an explicit budget and a sustainable plan for immunisation.
“Vaccination is a whole investment, if we do not protect the future generation, we will end up spending money and resources to cure diseases that are preventable, we must ensure that the taxes we pay are allocated to the future leaders,” she said.
Mr Kwesi Asante, a Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF, said the government must increase capital expenditure for an efficient health sector.
Mr Akumatey Tetteh, a Disease Control Officer at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the national Immunisation and Preparedness Plan (IPP) must be reviewed to ensure the availability and transportation of vaccines to children in hard-to-reach areas.
He also called on the government to commit funds to the Integrated Diseases Surveillance Response (IDSR) to help screen for disease infections on time during outbreaks.
Mr Stephen Atasige, In-Country Coordinator at Global Health Advocacy Incubator, called on the government to dedicate enough funding to the National vaccine institute.
He also called for the establishment of an epidermic preparedness fund to ensure that Ghana prepared for future health emergencies.
Immunisation is the process of giving a vaccine to a person to protect him or her against disease.
In Ghana, immunisation has been a core public health activity through the Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI) since1985.
The current EPI schedule recommends Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) at birth; a total of 4 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) given at birth, six, 10 and 14 weeks of age (OPV 0, OPV1, OPV 2 and OPV 3 respectively).
Three doses of Diphtheria, Pertusis, Tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type B and Hepatitis B (DPT/HiB/HepB), a five in one vaccine is administered at six , 10 and 14 weeks of age.
Measles and Yellow fever vaccines are administered at nine months of age.