The Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GNCH) as part of its activities to increase immunization coverage commemorated the World Immunization Week from the 24th April to 30th April, 2017. The theme for the celebration was “#VACCINESWORK: Get every child immunized”. The GCNH collaborated with the Ghana Health Service to hold the national event in the Upper West region on the 27th and 28th April, 2017 and similar events were held in the other 9 regions of the country. Two durbars were held in Lawra and Wa to commemorate the National event.
The durbar at Lawra was held on the 27th April, 2017 at the forecourt of the Lawra Naa’s Palace. Lawra is the district with the lowest immunization coverage in the Upper West Region and the third lowest district in the entire country after Ho, and Sekondi – Takoradi Municipal and Metropolis respectively. It was therefore necessary to hold an important event such as the World Immunization Week in the district to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for the patronage of immunization services for children under 5 years in the district. The event was graced and chaired by the paramount chief of the Lawra traditional area, Naa Pouwele Edward III. Other dignitaries in attendance included; Chiefs, Queens and Elders of the Lawra traditional area, Madam Doris Nigrie – a representative of the district director of health services, Mr. Kadire Osman – the District Coordinating Director, Dr. Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu – Board Chairman of GCNH, Madam Edwina Kpantatobu – Health worker and Queen in Lawra traditional area, health workers, media, members of the GCNH, Caregivers, Mother to Mother support groups, and the general public.
The paramount chief, Naa Pouwele Edward III in his address lamented upon knowing that the Lawra district is the third lowest in immunization coverage and only able to beat Ho and Sekondi – Takoradi. He revealed that the current position of Lawra has not always been like that because in the past his father participated actively in immunization campaigns even before independence. He reminisced that in the past the medical field unit with their equipment did a lot at the forecourt of the Lawra Naa palace where everybody was assembled and immunized. The efforts in the past he acknowledged has resulted in the driving away of measles and other childhood killer diseases.
With the current position of Lawra district on immunization coverage table, Naa Pouwele Edward III assured the district health directorate and all other institutions and organizations involved in the delivery of health services within his paramountcy about his support. He further edged health officials and NGOs who turn to work in communities within the paramountcy to recognize all the communication and entry structures that has being established by him to ensure that messages on health especially immunization are clearly and properly delivered to the people. He made the commitment to be an immunization advocate on all platforms when the opportunity present itself and also to advocate for the government to establish sustainability fund for immunization so that Ghana can rely on budgetary support to continue in the immunization exercise.
As part of the celebration at Lawra, GCNH presented awards to caregivers who excelled in presenting their children for accessing and completing their immunization schedules in the past years at the child welfare clinics. A total of 20 caregivers including male caregivers were awarded for completing the immunization schedule for their wards.
click link for the speech of Paramount chief of Lawra traditional area