SAKUJI TANAKA, President of the Rotary Club and Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister Monday cut the sod to commence construction of a vaccine cold room for the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate at the Adabraka Polyclinic.
The two-storey facility will cost GHÂ˘257,000. Rotary Ghana and Rotary International have provided GHÂ˘170,000 towards the project which will be completed in December.
Currently Greater Accra is the only region which does not have a dedicated vaccine cold room. Cold rooms are to protect the vaccines from damage. Vaccines are eventually damaged if they are exposed to excessively high temperatures.
Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo noted that though immunization was an effective way of protecting individuals, especially children and communities from infectious diseases, the vaccines should be stored within the temperature range recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to keep them potent.
â€śIncorrect storage of vaccines is not only wasteful and costly to the National Health Insurance Scheme, the failure to store vaccines correctly, particularly at temperatures below the manufacturerâ€™s and the WHO recommendations and standards, could reduce vaccines effectiveness and cause vaccine failures,â€ť he added.
During the event, Mr. Tanako, who performed the ceremony, noted the importance of the vaccines in the fight against childhood killer diseases.
He said Rotarians in Ghana and indeed Rotary International cannot afford to see Ghana slide on the road to being declared polio-free.
â€śThis is the most compelling reason why when Ghana Health Service made a plea to the visiting chairman of the board of trustees of the Rotary club he visited Ghana in Â April for the provision of a vaccine cold room for the Greater Accra Region,â€ť he said.
Rotary has had a long relationship with several sectors of the Ghanaian society and more especially the health sector since the formation of the first Rotary club in Ghana in October 1958.
It was Rotary and Rotarians who sowed the seed of what has now blossomed into the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
Other infrastructure that was put up or improved with finding from rotary include the new Out Patient Department of St. Josephâ€™s Hospital in Koforidua, the eye clinic and equipment at St. Dominic Hospital in Akwatia and the operating theatre at the Dodi-Papase Hospital.
â€śRotarians in Ghana are deeply involved in the roll back malaria campaign with donations of several hundreds of thousands of treated bed nets to nursing mothers throughout the country.â€ťMr. Tanaka said.
â€śSince the era National Immunization Days (NIDs) were adopted in Ghana to date Rotary International, through the Rotary foundation has spent in excess $6.5million on polio eradication programme in Ghana; this amount excludes contributions from Rotary Polio plus Partners and Rotarian clubs in Ghana.
Ghana has not recorded any polio case since November 2008.This is due to the hard working staff and Rotarians in Ghana,â€ť he said.
By Eric Tetteh Ababio