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Shortage of polio vaccines looms in Ghana  

ACCRA, (Xinhua) -- Ghana is facing a shortage of polio and measles vaccines in some districts across the country, local media reported on Wednesday.

The reports say some health facilities in Ghana have run short of the vaccines which are among a list of drugs used for protecting children against some of the world’s most deadly diseases.

According to the reports, Ghana’s inability to pay for last year’s supplies procured from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) necessitated the shortage which is expected to affect the health of under-five children if it lingers.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Anthony Nsiah-Asare, who confirmed the shortage, however said his outfit was expecting the arrival of the vaccines in the country from next week after the government parted with 10 million U.S. dollars to procure a one-year consignment from UNICEF.

“The one that we are transferring is about 10 million dollars which we are going to use to get all the consignment we need for the next year or so and we will then schedule and clear all the outstanding bills,” he told Citifm, a local radio in Accra.

Ghana has made giant strides in the fight against childhood killer diseases, especially polio, which kills or cripples children for life.

Since the outbreak of polio in 2008, no case of polio has been recorded in Ghana as of 2015 because of the high coverage of polio vaccinations.

In Ghana, measles vaccinations have contributed to dramatic reductions in measles incidence from tens of thousands of cases in the 1990s to few hundreds in the last five years.

Ghana has not documented measles mortality for over a decade.

But stakeholders fear that the shortage could spell doom for the country and erode gains made over the period.

However, Nsiah-Asare said the GHS had put measures in place to mitigate the situation.

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