Since the informal sector of the economy constitutes around 90 percent of the country’s workforce, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) organised a sensitisation forum for its Union of Informal Workers Associations (UNIWA) in Accra this week to respond positively to the on-going COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary-General of the TUC, in his remarks observed that it has been 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic came into existence and took the lives of thousands of Ghanaians. He observed also that members of the informal sector have not been spared the scourge, hence need for the sensitisation in view of conspiracy stories circulating about the vaccine.
The forum formed part of the TUC and the Danish Trade Unions Development Agency (DTDA) COVID-19 Recovery Project targetting between 500 and 1,000 informal workers in Accra and Kumasi.
Dr. Baah was particularly concerned that to date only 2 percent of the population has been vaccinated, and wondered if the target for achieving herd-immunity will be attained before end of the year as targeted if the numbers are not significantly scaled upward.
He said the TUC took this initiative because of the critical role health plays in wealth creation and national development as a whole – hence the need to ensure informal workers understand the need for vaccination as critical to boosting immunity against the virus for normalcy to return.
A facilitator and medical doctor with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Dominic Nartey, dispelled myths surrounding the vaccine and told participants that he has had his two doses and is continuing with his work in peace. He stated that most of the myths and conspiracies have no scientific basis.
He explained that a vaccinated person is more likely to have a higher chance of survival than one who is not. He explained to informal workers in local dialects that the vaccine boosts one’s immune system to ward off any onslaught of the virus on the body.
The participants asked all the questions that bothered their minds and were given responses by the medical team present. On the other hand, Head of International Affairs-TUC, Mary Karimu, noted that the sensitisation is to help in the economic recovery process since livelihoods were affected by the pandemic.
UNIWA is the first national trade union for workers in the informal economy, established in 2013 by the TUC.