ACCRA, Ghana's Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has urged West African countries to redouble efforts in order to prevent, control and eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases in the sub-region by developing more innovative ways of tackling such diseases, taking into consideration their limited resources.

Noting that vaccine-preventable diseases were not just health issues but developmental in nature, he expressed optimism that the eradication of vaccine preventable diseases would be achieve through effective surveillance systems and a robust Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) by the countries concerned.

In a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the annual EPI managers meeting for West African countries here, he expressed satisfaction that the sub-region was almost at the end of the struggle to eradicate polio, noting that the progress made in polio elimination in Ghana had been successful due to the inputs and concerted efforts of many stakeholders, including donor partners and through the work of the media.

The three-day meeting is to enable participating countries to review the status of the implementation of recommendation of the 2016 EPI Managers meeting as well as the recommendations of various regional immunization advisory groups and to learn from challenges of the programmes.

Agyemang-Manu also encouraged countries to consider domestic resources mobilization to facilitate the sustainability of laudable interventions to eradicate vaccine preventable diseases.

The EPI in the West Africa region has made tremendous progress in protecting children from common childhood communicable diseases namely; tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenza, yellow fever, among others, he said.


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