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The Ministry of Health (MoH) has collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up an 18-member National Immunization Advisory Group (NITAG) for the purposes of encouraging immunization across the country.
The committee involves a multidisciplinary group of national experts who would be responsible for providing independent, evidence-informed advice to policy makers and programme managers, among others.
Sector minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who chaired the function said, the main role of NITAG is to offer policy advice on issues of immunization and vaccines to both MoH and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
“This is in line with the Ministry’s recognition of the need and commitment to strengthen immunization policies and strategies,” he stated.
The Minister said during the pre-vaccines era, the population was decimated by preventable diseases with children bearing the brunt of morbidity and mortality.
He said however that with the advent of vaccination, the morbidity and mortality of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs) has been reduced.
The introduction of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in the country since 1978, according to him, has contributed tremendously in reducing morbidity and mortality among children under the age of five.
Agyemang Manu said the current vaccination programme offers protection against 13 dangerous childhood illnesses in the country, indicating that “Ghana has not recorded death due to measles and wild polio virus as reported in the outbreak since 2008.”
The country representative of WHO, Dr. Owen Kaluwa lauded Ghana for the remarkable effort to control the vaccine preventable diseases.
“Morbidity and mortality of these diseases have reduced, Polio is at the verge of eradication, he stated.
Dr. Kaluwa urged the committee to work assiduously to contribute to good health and wellness of Ghanaians, assuring of the support of all International agencies in all endeavor.
Members of NITAG include two categories namely the core members who are distinguished professionals and the non-core members made up of Ex- officio and Liaison members.
Source: Nii Aflah Sackey