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President Kufuor commends GAVI

Accra, Nov.5, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday commended the Global Alliance Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) for their tremendous assistance to Ghana in the protection of children against preventable diseases.

He said: "Ghana is grateful to GAVI for their assistance and the provision of 42 million dollars to support the procurement of vaccines and immunisation activities for the period 2002-2006". President Kufuor made the commendation when a delegation from GAVI on a two-day familiarisation tour of Ghana paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.

He said more assistance was needed from GAVI after the five-year period to enable the Government to sustain the procurement of vaccines and immunisation programmes by the year 2011.

"We appreciate your good works but appeal for more co-operation and support until Government is able to sustain the programme", he said.

Mr Moses Dani Baah, Deputy Minister of Health, said GAVI formed particularly to protect children from preventable diseases and in line with government's policy to ensure healthy children from birth applied to GAVI for assistance and received approval in September 2001. Professor Agyeman Badu Akosah, Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the immunisation was central to the framework of activities of the GHS because immunisation did not discriminate against children from the poor and affluence in society.

He said immunisation programmes were, however, being hampered by the high cost of vaccines and appealed to GAVI and its partners to make efforts to reduce the cost in order that Government could manage the programme after the period.

Dr Tore Godal, Executive Secretary of GAVI, said statistics available indicated that about 90 per cent of Ghanaian children had been immunised, was a great achievement and it should be sustained.

He said the problem was how to sustain the financing of the immunisation programme, training programmes for health personnel and the challenge to finance the programme from the national budget after the assistance from GAVI was over.

Dr Godal, therefore, called for the establishment of a Committee to co-ordinate the activities of GAVI after the period because more companies were now involved in the production of vaccines and efforts would be made to reduce the cost.

Source: GNA

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