March 10, 2023

Minister for Health Kwaku Agyeman Manu on Thursday, March 9, 2023 briefed the House on shortage of some childhood vaccines stating that it regrettably coincided with the performance of the economy towards the second half of last year thus affecting the normal procurement processes which resulted in delays for vaccines we would have needed in 2023.

Despite the delay in our procurement processes, we had stocks which carried us through 2022, resulting in our end of year national coverage of 95% measles, OPV, 90%, and BCG 96%.

A district is said to be in an outbreak when there are two or more laboratory confirmed measles cases that are temporally related (with dates of rash onset occurring 7-21 days apart) and the cases are linked, he said.
In this context, five districts in the Northern Region have been in an outbreak situation including Tamale Metro; Kumbungu; Savelugu; Karaga and Nanumba North.

The vaccination coverage for 2022 for the 5 districts are moderately high and are as follows; Savelugu 80.5%, Tamale Metro 107.8, Karaga 101.9%, Kumbungu 96.3% and Nanumba North 74.2% and we believe this is enough to prevent an outbreak.

“Mr. Speaker, one major contributor to measles outbreak is accumulation of unvaccinated persons over a period of time. These children constitute a cohort of vulnerable groups who become the focus of infection. This is why the country has been conducting mass catch-up and follow-up measles (and rubella) vaccination campaigns every three to five years with support from Gavi, WHO, UNICEF and other Partners. And this year’s Mass campaign is yet to be undertaken and discussions with our Partners are on-going”.

“It is important to correct the erroneous impression that, there have been deaths from measles in Ghana recently. For the avoidance of doubt, there have been no deaths from the recent recorded spike in measles cases”.

Indeed there have been no deaths since 2003 though we have recorded cases annually, mercifully, no child has died in this outbreak.

The Ministry, working with WHO and other Partners, has initiated an application to the International Coordination Group (ICG) for supply of Measles-Rubella vaccines for outbreak response vaccination campaign.

“Mr. Speaker, we have made all necessary efforts to ensure that we secure adequate stocks within the next few weeks., working with UNICEF, we are fast-tracking the processes and it is expected that the vaccines will be supplied in the next few weeks, all things being equal”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/