Ghana to become 1st GAVI-eligible country to rollout two new vaccines at same time
The pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines are being introduced by the
Ministry of Health with support from the GAVI Alliance and its partners
UNICEF, WHO and many generous donors including governments and the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation.
From cold chain logistics for vaccine storage to community mobilisation, Ghana's health system is gearing up to simultaneously introduce two new life-saving vaccines into its national immunisation programme.
On 26 April, Ghana will start rolling out pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, against the leading causes of pneumonia and severe infant diarrhoea.
Ghana's head of state, President John Atta Mills, will attend a special ceremony to mark the first-time a GAVI-eligible country has introduced two vaccines at the same time.
“It was clear what we had to do,” says Dr. K.O. Antwi-Agyei, Ghana’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation Manager.
“We could not introduce one vaccine and then wait – while our children were dying – to introduce the other. We have the systems and we have carefully planned the introduction process.”
Rolling out two vaccines together requires greater planning than a single introduction: expansion of the country’s cold chain capacity, careful training of staff and clear communication to the public about the benefits.
Watch GAVI's three and a half-minute video for an insight into Ghana's behind-the-scenes preparations ahead of the 26 April launch as well as the people and communities to whom the new vaccines will matter most.