Ghana inaugurates the NITAG
On 16th May 2018, the Honorable minister of Health inaugurated NITAG-Ghana at the MoH conference room. Thus, Ghana took a bold step to join GAVI-eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa to establish a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).
The ceremony begun with the Director of the Directorate of Human Resource for Health of MoH, welcoming all present after which he gave a brief history of the formation of the NITAG.
The coordinator, Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, a Senior Public Health Physician Specialist with EPI-GHS, gave a brief biography of each of the nominees. He indicated that NITAG-Ghana is made up eleven (11) core members who are experts in their own fields and nine (9) ex-officio members from the MoH-GHS and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies. NITAG-Ghana will be expected to provide independent, evidence-informed advice on issues related to vaccines and the immunization process that will, hopefully and ultimately, lead to a decline in vaccine preventable diseases.
Members of NITAG-Ghana are from diverse disciplines including paediatrics, internal medicine,public health, epidemiology, immunology, health economics, microbiology, pharmacy, research, social science among others. Members are to serve four-year tenure with eligibility for reappointment for one additional term.
The Honorable Minister of Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, in his inauguration speech, stated that the day marked a historic accomplishment in the milestone of immunization in Ghana of which he was happy to be a part. He further highlighted that the main role of the NITAG was to offer independent advice to both the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service on vaccines and new technologies in immunization. He emphasized that the formation of NITAG was in line with the Ministry’s recognition, need and commitment to strengthen immunization policies and strategies. He also indicated that with the advent of vaccination, morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable disease has been reduced but has not vanished and may reoccur if efforts are not doubled up. Hence, there is the need to take advantage of the evolution of new vaccines and technology to consolidate current gains, while ensuring safety. He thanked the nominees (see appendix) for accepting the offer and officially declared the NITAG inaugurated.
Prof. George Armah of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) was designated and accepted as the Chair of NITAG-Ghana for the first four-year tenure of office.