Accra, Nov. 5, GNA- American tennis star, Serena Williams, on a five-day visit to Ghana, on Sunday joined Ghanaian health officials, diplomats and a Minister of State in an immunization exercise for children under five at Nungua Zongo, in Accra.
Serena, accompanied by mum, administered vitamin drops, polio vaccines and also distributed bed nets and interacted with a thrilled crowd of children with their mothers, under a leafy and shady Indian almond tree.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, United States America Ambassador to Ghana, Pamela Bridgewater, and the Country Director of UK Department for International Development Mike Hammond, also participated in the exercise, which formed part of this year's Ghana National Health Campaign, running from November 1 to 5.
The campaign focuses on adopting preventive measures through the use of treated insecticide nets, to protect children from mosquito bites that cause malaria.
The importance of the campaign stemmed from the fact that about 80,00 children died from preventable causes before they attained five years, and malaria, which is endemic in Ghana, claims about a quarter of all under-five deaths every year.
The widespread use of insecticide treated nets can reduce child mortality by 20 per cent. Elated Serena, whose visit to Ghana was her debut to Africa, had visited the Cape Coast Castle to see the relics of the obnoxious slave trade, said she was happy to be in Ghana.
She said it was great for her to participate in the immunization exercise, adding that it was necessary to build the future of the children.
Serena, who leaves for Senegal after Wednesday said: " I've been bitten by a mosquito, and I will start sleeping under a net.'
Hajia Mahama described Serena's visit as good publicity for economic development, investment drive and a promotion of the Child Health campaign.
She said the campaign, which began in the Upper East Region, was to ensure a basic care for the nation's children, who would grow to form the nation’s human resources.
Hajia Mahama added that the exercise reduced child and infant mortality by 50 per cent when it began in the Upper East Region. Most of the treated nets for the exercise were provided by the DFID.