GIS to vaccinate over 244,000 children against malaria in UER
The Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) is undertaking a dosing exercise targeting over 244,000 children under the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) implementation programme, with phase one beginning Saturday, July 23, to Friday, July 31.
The goal of the four-phased exercise is to raise the immunity of children during the malarial season to help prevent the illness.
It is part of a nationwide campaign targeting children aged between three and 59 months.
Speaking on Thursday at a media and stakeholder meeting ahead of the exercise, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Service, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, explained that the SMC is the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of an anti-malarial medicine during the Malaria season to prevent illness, with the objective of maintaining therapeutic anti-malaria drug concentrations in the blood throughout the period of greatest malaria risk.
Dr. Ofosu said the Ghana Health Service, with its health partners, for the past four years has been implementing SMC in the country to help control the impact of Malaria on children.
This, he said, was being done with strict adherence to recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to use a single dose of SP; accompanied by a three-day treatment course with AQ once a month for three to 4 months during the malaria season, for children who fall within the specified brackets.
Dr. Ofosu further noted that the SMC, since its inception in 2016, had proven to be effective, cost-effective, well tolerated and feasible, hence, the need for its continuous implementation.
Touching on the implementation approach, Dr. Ofosu said four rounds of SMC would be administered in all the 15 Municipal and District assemblies in the region.
Using the door-to-door approach, Dr. Ofosu announced that vaccinators would be visiting homes and other public places to administer the vaccine, and called for the cooperation of the general public.
He particularly urged caregivers to avail their children who fall within the specified age brackets for the exercise, and ensure they take the recommended full dose prescribed for them.
The SMC exercise will take a period of seven days in each phase, with the final round for the year 2020, beginning Monday, October 12, to Sunday, October 18.
Meanwhile, the Regional Health Directorate is assuring the general public that it has taken into account the necessary COVID-19 protocols to ensure safety, as it embarks on the SMC exercise amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.
These measures, the Directorate says, are being taken to limit the spread of the Coronavirus during and after the registration exercise.
From Paul Fodjour, Bolgatanga