Swine flu vaccines stuck in Korea as KUMACA health crisis continues


The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the arrival of vaccines for the combat of swine flu at Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region will delay for some few more days.

The vaccines were expected in the country on Saturday but the Korean suppliers have said that was not possible because of transport challenges.

GHS Director of Public Health, Dr Badu Sarkodie told Emefa Apawu on Joy FM’s Top Story the antigenic substance has been procured but the shipment requires adequate packaging which has resulted in the delay.

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the vaccine will be in the country next Wednesday.

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But the Tamiflu drug coming from Geneva will arrive on Saturday instead of Friday as was communicated, Dr Sarkodie said.

The change in plan for the resolution of the looming health crisis in senior high schools (SHSs) has courted the displeasure of Asawase Member of Parliament (MP) Muntaka Mubarak.

“I feel disappointed,” he said, adding the Ghana Health Service and Health Ministry are not attaching the seriousness the issue requires.

At least four deaths have been recorded in KUMACA from what has been confirmed as Influenza Type A (H1N1) known as swine flu.

The tragic incident happened nine-months after seven students died in the same school from meningitis.

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The GHS and Health Ministry contracted the WHO to procure vaccines and Tamiflu drugs to administer to the students in order to control the disease in the school.

The Tamiflu was expected in the country on Friday and the vaccines on Saturday, but their arrival will delay by some few days, the Ghana Health Service has said.

But Dr Sarkodie has assured Ghanaians the Ministry and WHO are doing “everything possible to get the vaccine into the country.”

He believes “one or two days delay” of the vaccine may not jeopardize the health of students because health officers have a backup plan.

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The GHS Director of Public Health said the Ghana Health Service will use Relenza (Zanamivir) to treat the students until the arrival of the vaccine.

But president of the Coalition of NGOs in Health, Gabriel Bernaku has called for the dismissal of the Education and Health Ministers for failing to address the health issue swiftly.

He said since the start of the crisis, the two Ministers have “played very little roles” to ameliorate it.