Yellow Fever: Kojokura residents now ambassadors for yellow fever vaccination

Yellow Fever: Kojokura residents now ambassadors for yellow fever vaccination
Yellow Fever: Kojokura residents now ambassadors for yellow fever vaccination

Africa-Press – Ghana. Residents of Kojokura, one of the communities where the yellow fever was first discovered in the West Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, have become ambassadors for the vaccination against the disease by leading people to the centres.

They said they considered it as a national duty and their contribution to keeping their neighbours and friends safe from the disease as well as preventing a recurrence of the effects they suffered last October, when the disease broke.

This came to light when a team of officials from the West Gonja Municipal Directorate of Health and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) visited the area, which is a nomadic community, to learn about how residents were doing after participating in the first phase of the vaccination campaign in December, 2021.

The residents were seen proudly displaying their yellow cards as proof of vaccination. Madam Amina Salifu, a 35-year-old resident, whose four-year-old daughter recovered from the yellow fever disease at the West Gonja Municipal Hospital, told the Ghana News Agency the four weeks her daughter spent at the hospital were stressful moments to the family.

She thanked God for saving her daughter and expressed gratitude to the Ghana Health Service and partners for their support. Mr Osman Abu, an opinion leader, said “We do not want yellow fever in our community again. We have all embraced the yellow fever vaccine and we have been vaccinated. Now, when anybody comes to our community and he or she is not vaccinated, we direct and lead him or her to go for the vaccine.”

Mr Adamu Musah, another resident, said he, his wife and children took the vaccine, adding; “We feel good. The vaccine is safe. Everybody should go for it.”

Miss Gertrude Yentumi, the West Gonja Municipal Director of Health, said the outbreak in the area in October, last year, was devastating as 18 lives were lost and commended the residents for embracing the vaccine.

Mr Bhanu Pathak, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Tamale, was happy that nomadic communities were reached as part of the vaccination campaign and that no new cases were recorded since the vaccination began.

The Ghana Health Service, with support from partners, on February 26, began the second phase of the yellow fever vaccination across 28 districts in nine regions of the country, where suspected cases have been recorded.

As part of the five day-long campaign, which ends on March 02, persons aged nine months old to 60 years old (with the exception of pregnant women) are being injected with the yellow fever vaccine to keep them safe.

The regions are Savannah, Ashanti, Greater Accra, Oti, Northern, Upper West, Bono, and Bono East. After the first phase of the vaccination campaign, it was realised that pockets of the disease still existed, and some new communities also started recording cases, hence the second phase.

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, an infection that could cause serious illness and death.

Symptoms include fever, yellowing of the eyes, dark urine, bleeding (from the nose, ear, mouth and other parts of the body), chills, general body aches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and weakness, shock and failure of many organs.

In October, 2021 the Savannah Region reported suspected cases of the disease and the cases were confirmed positive for yellow fever by the National Public Health Reference Laboratory and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research among others.

The outbreak is now widespread, with 13 out of 16 regions of the country including Savannah, Upper West, Bono and Bono East confirming cases with more than 40 deaths.

UNICEF is working with the GHS’ Expanded Programme on Immunisation, and providing technical assistance and financial support to help build the capacity of health staff and provide the needed vaccines and logistics to fight it.

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