The Ayawaso West Municipal Health Directorate has partnered Mastercard Foundation and Stratcomm Africa to take COVID-19 vaccination exercises to communities in the municipality, as turnout at health centres for the vaccine is low.
The exercise witnessed scores of residents from the La Bawaleshie community turn up at the Okponglo Park over the weekend to receive their first jab at the vaccination and sensitisation activity.
Speaking to the media, Ayawaso West Municipal Director of Health Services, Dr. Louisa Matey, indicated that the municipality has been very proactive in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the challenges which arise in the locality. As such, having realised the lackadaisical attitude toward moving to health centres for the vaccine, the Health Directorate decided to collaborate with Mastercard to undertake such a critical exercise.
“We noticed somewhere in October that we needed to change strategy when we started with the Moderna vaccination, because when we began it was mainly a facility-based exercise and turnout was low.
“We noticed that those who needed it for travel and other programmes are the ones who came to the facility to get it done; and so we realised the need to take it to the community in order to reach everyday Ghanaians like hairdressers, masons, carpenters and shop-owners among others,” she said.
She added that the first trial yielded results, as there was a massive turnout in the communities to take the vaccine – a factor that necessitated the need to continue, and partnerships with corporate Ghana will be of great importance to that effect.
She used the opportunity to call on other NGOs and corporate bodies to come into partnership with various health professionals and take the vaccination exercise to communities in order to safeguard society and ensure the state achieves its herd immunisation target.
Touching on the drop in COVID-19 sensitisation in the country recently, she emphasised that there hasn’t necessarily been any drop, but the focus instead has shifted from the protocols or social distancing to vaccination.
However, she stated the directorate has taken notice of the fact that some education and sensitisation needs to be reintroduced on the COVID-19 pandemic itself, as it has deduced from the community engagement in this regard.
“We thought that when you are wearing your nose mask everyday it means that the public is aware of the pandemic; but now we realise that there is a difference between being aware and accepting it, so we will go back to the basics of telling the whole COVID-19 story.
Dr. Matey said the disease is real and Ghana Health Service is poised to ensure that every Ghanaian gets the vaccine. She cautioned that as Ghanaians go about celebrating Christmas, they should keep to the protocols and be responsible for their own safety.
On her part, Myra Ankrah – a partner of Stratcomm speaking on behalf of the Mastercard Foundation – emphasised that the two astute brands believe communication is a critical tool for national development and livelihood enhancement – hence the partnership with Ayawaso Municipal Health Directorate.
“When we look at our environment today, we realise many people have dropped the ball – they neither wear facemasks nor sanitise their hands regularly as it used to be. This campaign is to enable us interact with people and get them to change,” she said.
The sensitisation and vaccination exercise, she said, will be continued in other communities to aid government in achieving its herd-immunisation agenda.