Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, the Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has blamed the resurgence of polio partly on the proliferation of filth in the county and called on all, including the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation, to work hard at keeping the environment clean.
He has therefore observed that GHS will early next year embark on a nationwide polio vaccination of all children under five years across the country.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe who was speaking on the occasion of the second Scientific Conference and Competency Graduation Ceremony of the Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP) in Accra noted that due setbacks the country suffered in its attempt to achieve a polio-free status, as 10 cases of polio have been reported in some parts of the country since June this year had necessitated the exercise.
The conference was themed: “Building and Sustaining Field Epidemiology Workforce through GFELTP: The Role of Government, Private Sector and Institutional partners”.
The Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, made this known during an interview in Accra.
He said: “Before the nationwide exercise would begin, children in selected districts where fresh cases had been found would be vaccinated, starting this week.
“The selected districts are in the Oti and Bono regions.”
Dr Asiedu-Bekeo said in June this year, children in the Northern, Greater Accra and Upper East regions were vaccinated against the disease.
At the end of the conference, 58 field epidemiologists made up of 28 frontline officers, 15 intermediate officers and 15 advanced officers were graduated.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said since the first case of polio was found in the environment in Tamale, there had been 10 cases in humans and several others picked from the environment.
According to him, most countries in the world were polio-free, except Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He said only recently, had there been a surge in the disease in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe attributed the sudden increase in the spread of the disease to a gap in the treatment regimen, meaning some children were not vaccinated and that could account for the new cases.
The GHS head of Disease Surveillance said there ought to be a strong surveillance system put in place so that the situation did not get out of hand.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe commended the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation for helping contain the situation in the country and beyond, adding that he was confident that the polio disease was going to be eradicated from the world soon.
He congratulated the graduates who were made up of veterinary epidemiologists, field epidemiologists and public health laboratory scientists and charged them to go into the field and ensure that no case of polio or any public health disease slipped through their fingers.