President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed worry over the shortages of childhood vaccines in the country.
The president in his speech on the floor of parliament during his 2023 state of the nation address bemoaned what he described as his greatest concern.
Ghana for the past couple of months has struggled with the outbreak of Measles since October 2022 due to the shortage of vaccines and has sparked numerous criticism from the public and Minority in Parliament.
In spite of the National Health Insurance Authority claims that over GH¢70 million has been released for the procurement of the vaccines for children, the country is yet see the supply of these vaccines to curb the shortages.
According to President Akufo Addo, if the situation is not resolved immediately, this will adversely affect Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme.
Mr. Speaker, I must say, however, that the current shortage of some childhood vaccines in the country has concerned me greatly. This shortage, if prolonged, will affect negatively Ghana’s Childhood Immunisation Programme, which has been recognised as one of the most successful in the world. The WHO has only recently expressed worry about a steady decline in measles vaccination coverage globally, because of the concentration on the fight against COVID-19, The President said in his speech.
He however assured Ghanaians that his government is taking steps to procure these vaccines and supply at the shortest possible timeframe for the children and urged parents and caregivers to help n ensuring that no child is denied vaccination in the country.
In accordance with our desire not to become part of this global trend, Government has taken steps to ensure that stocks of these vaccines are procured and supplied, as a matter of emergency. The Ghana Health Service has developed an elaborate programme to catch up on children who have missed their vaccinations immediately stocks arrive.
I want to encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure that eligible children are vaccinated, once this programme begins. No child should be denied access to vaccination. Mercifully, so far, not a single child has died as a result of the outbreak.” He added.
The Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh also expressed disappointed in President for his inability to give clear timelines on the procurement of childhood vaccines.
He added that the President doesn’t understand the urgency of the situation.
What is the meaning of emergency? What is the meaning of soon? They should be telling us the timelines. In the first place, we shouldn’t have gotten here. It looks like the President doesn’t appreciate the essence of urgency. For me, I’m simply uncomfortable and disappointed”.
He had the opportunity to vaccinate his children and grandchildren. Children are born today and every minute, and they have no opportunity to be vaccinated. You are denying the people the right to good healthcare which is against the constitution of the land. In some jurisdictions, this is a crime for Christ’s sake, and I’m getting emotional about it,” The MP bemoaned.