The Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene on Thursday appealed to health personnel to partner with religious groups in undertaking immunization programmes to facilitate the attainment of targets.
She observed that the prevention of members, particularly children by the leadership of some religious groups, from being immunized against diseases was very worrying because children who are the country’s future leaders should not grow with abnormalities or be killed by preventable diseases.
Mad. Owusu-Bannerhene made the appeal at a day’s forum with stakeholders for the immunization advocacy initiative in Sunyani.
The occasion also coincided with the 14th annual general meeting of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) to build their capacity to be able to support and sustain immunization in the country.
It was under the theme: “Mobilizing Communities for Sustained Immunization Services and Post Covid-19 Interventions: The Role of The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).”
She said support from foreign partners to immunize children against the 15 killer diseases such as polio which was crippling and deforming children strangely from age one to five had helped to reduce or eradicate some diseases in the country.
Mad. Owusu-Banahene warned parents who prevented their children under 18 years from being immunized against any disease that they could be arrested and prosecuted since such children were not mature enough to make their own decisions.
She implored the public to embrace and support immunization exercises by the Ghana Health Service to prevent the outbreak of diseases from some endemic communities and generally in the country.
The National Chairman of the GCNH, Dr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu said the forum aimed at influencing and coming out with a communiqué to inform the government to create a fund to support immunization exercises in the country.
He said donor partners had hinted that by 2025 all support for immunization in the country would be withdrawn, saying there was, therefore, the need to draw the government’s attention to create a fund to sustain immunization exercises.
Dr Benarkuu said the government spent more than US$44 to immunize 1.2 million children against diseases annually.
The Bono Regional Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr. John Ekow Otoo said social media was a major hindrance to achieving successful immunization exercises through the spread of false information on drugs introduced to prevent diseases and further outbreaks.
He advised those who harboured misconceptions about vaccines and spread false information whenever any vaccine was introduced by the health authorities to stop such unpatriotic acts.
Dr. Otoo described such falsehoods as a disservice to the public interest because it could result in the death of many and cause disasters in the country.