The Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) is worried the country’s expanded programme on immunization (EPI), especially between January and June each year, could be under threat in the midst of Covid-19.
It is estimated that at least one million children benefit from 13 vaccine preventable childhood diseases under EPI.
This has played a significant role in Ghana’s primary healthcare delivery.
But this, GCNH notes, is under threat as there is no sustainable programme put in place, particularly as regards finance, following the exit of GAVI under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“It is adequately on point in observing all the necessary safety protocols to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic but nonetheless, equal attention [must] be given Immunization Service,” the Coalition said in a release issued by National Chairman Dr Gabriel Bernakuu.
It cited how Ghana records more cases of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in the first quarter of each year.
In commemoration of the 2020 World Immunisation Week, the Coalition called for “a financial commitment from the Government as well as augmenting the collective efforts of all stakeholders to bring these cases to the barest minimum”.
It said while observing the social distancing protocol in ensuring that Covid-19 does not spread, equal attention must be given immunization service.
The non-governmental organisations in health, therefore, urged mothers “to continue to seek for immunisation services for their children amidst this Covid-19 pandemic era”.
Members were tasked to be deeply involved in household education and defaulter tracing, among other recommendations.
The release concluded: “Ghana needs to develop Immunization Financing Policy to sustainably respond to the needs of all children under 5 which would ultimately and contribute significantly in the attainment of the Universal Healthcare Coverage Policy.”