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Expanded Program of Immunisation - EPI


National Policy

  • Support for routine immunisation
  • Accelerated control of vaccine preventable disease
  • Surveillance for vaccine preventable diseases
  • Support for cold chain & vaccine management
  • Injection safety & waste management practices

The National EPI Policy in Ghana is that each child should receive one dose of BCG at birth, three doses of DPT-HepB+Hib, (at 6, 10 and 14 weeks), four doses of OPV (at birth, 6, 10 and 14 weeks) one dose of measles (at 9 months) and one dose of yellow fever (at 9 months).Every woman of childbearing age (12-44 years) should receive 5 doses of tetanus toxoid.

The Immunization System

The system consists of the Immunization Service, Vaccine Management, Logistics (including cold chain support), Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Infections, and Advocacy and Social Mobilization.

Components of EPI

There are three components of the EPI system. These are (i) Routine Immunization which is delivered through the Reaching Every District (RED) approach in all districts (ii) Accelerated Disease Control (ACD) which comprises the campaigns, also known as Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs) and child health days (CHDs) and (iii) Vaccine Preventable Disease (VPD) Surveillance, targeting polio, measles, neonatal tetanus (NT) and yellow fever.

Main EPI delivery strategies

The following are the strategies through which EPI services are delivered in Ghana:

  • Static - Routine immunization services daily at health facilities/hospitals
  • Outreach – Outreach services are to remote communities, based on district/sub-district plans, catchment locations etc.
  • Mini-mass (mop up) – These are occasional activities in selected districts to capture defaulters and also reach out to children missed in routine services
  • Campaigns – These are mostly national activities which are conducted to reach large population (target group) in a given period as a supplementary activity to the routine immunization to increase immunity
  • Persons mostly involved – Community Health Nurses (CHNs)/ Disease Control Officers (DCOs) who are supported by some midwives

WHO support for EPI in Ghana

WHO provides both financial and technical support to all three components of EPI Ghana.

  1. For Routine immunization, the support is usually for the following activities: district micro planning, Training, Data management, Cold chain and logistics, Vaccine management Injection safety and waste management, Monitoring and supervision, Social mobilization and community involvement.
  2. Support for Accelerated Disease Control covers NIDs for polio eradication; SIAs for measles control, Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) elimination; yellow fever prevention and control and all other integrated campaigns.
  3. WHO support for VPD surveillance has mostly been for the Polio laboratory at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Public Health Reference lab for measles and yellow fever at Korle-Bu, Polio Experts and National Certification Committees, Districts Health teams for community-based VPD surveillance activities etc. Diseases covered are Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) for polio, measles, yellow fever and neo-natal tetanus.

Focal Point - Mr Stanley Kwasi Diamenu