ER deploys strategies to cover hard-to-reach communities with covid-19 vaccination

Koforidua, Sept 30, GNA-In ensuring that no one is left behind in the covid-19 vaccination campaign and all other vaccinations, the Eastern Regional Health Directorate has deployed effective strategies to reach out to every community, hamlet and cottage to offer vaccines to eligible persons.
The health directorate has instituted adequate pre-vaccination activities aimed at assessing the peculiar challenges of identified hard-to-reach areas and determining tailored measures to give access and reach to such areas accordingly.
Vaccinations are very critical health interventions to protect people from many ailments and diseases including the novel coronavirus. There are communities in Ghana which are very difficult to reach because their road networks are poor and, in some cases, located on islands which need extra effort to reach. Such areas are often described as hard-to-reach areas or overseas. The Eastern Region is not an exception and that, however, has not curtailed efforts in reaching out to all eligible persons for vaccination.
This was gathered in a follow-up interview after a roundtable discussion with fellows of the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on “Ghana’s covid-19 Responses: CSOs Perspective” as part of the JHR Mobilizing Media for COVID-19, project.
“For instance, we do piloting and mapping of all communities during every vaccination so we are able to reach everybody irrespective of any barrier and that same strategy is being used for the covid-19 vaccination exercise as well,” Dr Winfred Ofosu, Eastern Regional Director of Health said.
He added that “We retrain our staff and volunteers to be part of the teams and provide logistics such as boats and live jackets to be able to reach out to island communities in the Afram plains area and other communities where we have to cross a river or stream”.
Dr Ofosu, who was speaking at a press briefing indicated that “by so doing all target groups identified for vaccination including children’s routine vaccination exercises as well as outbreak response vaccination campaigns such as yellow fever has been very satisfactory, in fact, people who have not vaccinated against covid-19 is not about accessibility issues”.
The Eastern Region has about eight hard-to-reach communities within the Volta Basin districts, “but technically, all the 33 administrative districts in the region have a hard-to-reach area due to poor road network and nature of scattered cottages, but with our advance preparation nobody is left out”
Dr John Otoo, Eastern Regional Deputy Director of Public Health said in spite of all these challenges, there are vaccination centres in all areas making it possible to capture everybody who is eligible for one vaccination or the other, be it polio or the five childhood killer diseases and even the ongoing covid 19 vaccinations.
“We always discover new settlements after every vaccination campaign since communities are growing and stretching out and that is as a result of our detailed and effective mapping strategies” adding the just-ended polio vaccination of all children under five years recorded over 90 per cent and within target.
The Eastern Region has administered a total of 1,724,413 doses of covid-19 assorted vaccines out of a target of over two million people from age 15 years, with 733,975 fully vaccinated representing 30.1, per cent and over one million have received at least a dose representing 43.4 per cent, meanwhile, 19,055,059 vaccines have been administered nationwide.
The covid-19 vaccination started on March 2021 in Ghana, following lunch by President Nana Akufo-Addo and has so far received 12,971,470 doses of AstraZeneca, 8,788,850 doses of Janssen, 122,962 doses of Moderna, 11,036,658 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and 21,000 Sputnik-V doses as at end of August 2022.
Dr Otoo, appealed to those who are yet to take the covid-19 vaccines to take the jabs so the much-desired heard immunity could be achieved adding “even though we have made huge progress in eliminating covid-19 the pandemic is not over and we need to keep to the safety protocols, particularly the vaccination”.
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI, at the Ghana Health Service, indicated at a roundtable discussion on Ghana‘s covid-19 responses for fellows of JHR and CSOs, that there was the need to push the covid-19 vaccination rates up as a safeguard to prevent a new wave.
Throwing more light on vaccines he mentioned that immunization/vaccination had conquered a lot of childhood vaccine-preventable diseases including Neonatal tetanus eliminated in Ghana in 2011, Measles has not recorded any death between 2003 and 2021 and there had been no reported cases of Polio since 2008 in Ghana.
The early days of the COVID-19 vaccination were difficult as many people refuse the jabs due to conspiracy theories and myths which suggested that the vaccination had serious side effects considering the short period under which the vaccines were developed.


Source: Ghana News Agency

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