AFRICAN POPULATION AND HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER
The Immunization Advocacy Initiative is a consortium project implemented by three organizations in Ghana namely;
The project seeks to advocate for ‘an increase in Domestic Immunization Financing. This is because the cost of immunization in Ghana is partly paid by GAVI, the vaccine alliance. GAVI, however would be exiting by the year 2027, hence the need for the Government of Ghana to fully cater for immunization expenses in the country.
Specifically, the project seeks to achieve the following outcome;
This report covers activities implemented within the second quarter of 2020. For the period under review, the following activities were carried out;
Observation of World Immunization Week
The World Immunization Week 2020 was commemorated in Ghana with the theme “Vaccines Work for All”. Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) led by Mr. Bright Amissah-Nyarko (National Vice Chair) engaged mothers at the Prince of Peace Maternity Home located at New Fadama a suburb of Accra on the need to immunize their kids against the Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs). The Team also seized the opportunity to encourage the Caregivers to continuously bring their children for the immunization service as scheduled but however should observe the necessary safety protocols recommended like the frequent washing of hands under clean running water, the use of hand sanitizers, observation of social distancing, among others to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The GCNH Team also distributed nose masks, a bottle of hand sanitizer, a bar of soap and a washing powder to all Caregivers (total of 100) who brought their children for the immunization service. For making the observation of social distance practical, the Caregivers were in several groups (not more than 20 mothers in a group). This relief items to the Caregivers is expected to be a tool to motivate them to bring their children for the immunization service and ultimately increase the coverage.
A few mothers were also interviewed on why they still bring their children for the immunization service regularly amidst this COVID-19 pandemic and they all affirmed that it was necessary. GCNH donated some items such as gallons of liquid soap, veronica bucket and metallic stand, tissue papers and some nose masks to the Prince of Peace Maternity Home and Clinic, in a bid to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The GCNH Team also proceeded to Kaneshie Polyclinic for a brief engagement with the frontline workers and congratulated them for their selfless services in this COVID-19 period. The head of Pharmacy in this Health Facility represented the management to receive the donation from the GCNH Team. Items that were donated included Veronica Bucket with metallic stand, 72 bottles of hand sanitizers, 8 gallons of liquid soap, 4 packets of hand tissues, among others. This donation was also GCNH’s contribution to help the clinic in the fight of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview by Adom Fm, the Health Facility expressed their gratitude to the GCNH Team for this kind gesture as this donation would go a long way to help the Hospital. She also used the platform with the media to talk about the importance of immunization in the country. She stated that, ‘immunization is a very important factor in the growth of every child” hence the need for all mothers to participate in the immunization service whenever its due and be regular to avoid their children from suffering any of the Vaccine Preventable Disease.
The GCNH Team later headed to the office of Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharabutu (National Chief Imam) to pay him a courtesy call. The GCNH Team, recognizing the influence of the National Chief Imam in Ghana, also used this opportunity to solicit his support in championing Immunization Service and advocating for a Sustainable Domestic Immunization Financing in Ghana. The GCNH team also donated some food items, drinks, veronica bucket, soaps, tissue among others to the office of the National Chief Imam and the community to also help all to stay healthy during this time of Ramadan.
To climax the day, the National Vice Chairman of GCNH granted an interview to Adom FM. In his submission, he urged mothers to make sure they take their children for immunization amidst the COVID-19 pandemic whilst adhering to all the necessary safety protocols. He stated how important domestic immunization financing is and hence advocates the Government of Ghana to establish a fund for a Domestic and Sustainable Financing, just as the recent COVID-19 Trust Fund. He further explained this would make Immunization Service in the country sustainable when Gavi exits from Ghana. He lastly extended his gratitude to the Caregivers, Health Personnel and the National Chief Imam and his team for making the day successful.
This was an online training that was organized by APHRC and Southern Hemisphere for GCNH, SEND Ghana and HFFG Consortium. This training lasted for three weeks (from 15th June, 2020 to 3rd July, 2020). The medium for this training was typically through Zoom meeting and Google classroom. Several readings and links were shared by the facilitators of this online training. The training was segmented into three modules, thus;
Some topics treated during this online training include;
The project has so far been successful and we are optimistic the program leverages on the attention from the public after rolling out pending interventions in the ensuing quarter.