CSOs, journalists tasked to push forward COVID-19 vaccination

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and journalists have been urged to help push COVID-19 vaccination rates up as a safeguard against a new wave of infections in the country.

The Programme Manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, who advocated this, said CSOs and media were crucial in curing misinformation and hesitancy.

He was speaking at a round table discussion dubbed “Ghana’s COVID-19 Responses: CSOs Perspective,” jointly organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) Canada’s leading media development organisation, in Accra on Tuesday.

The two bodies are implementing a project titled, “Mobilisingmedia to fight COVID-19,” which is training journalists in Ghana to effectively communicate public health measures, while debunking disinformation and misinformation about COVID-19.

Now in its second phase, the project, started in 2020 with financial support from the Global Affairs of Canada,is supporting local journalists in all the 12 implementing countries around the globe to contribute to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on human rights, especially women and girls rights.

The round table afforded the CSOs an opportunity to highlight some of the interventions they had been executing to help avert the impacts of the outbreak on the socio-economic development of the country.

They comprised the Ghana Network of Persons living with HIV and AIDS (NAP+ Ghana), Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) and Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency (SWIDA).

Dr Amponsa-Achianosaid as of September 2, the country’s COVID-19 case count stood at 168,622 with 167,124 recovered/discharged, 1,459 dead and 39 active cases.

On vaccination, he said, as of August 30, 2022, a total of 19,055,059 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered 8.3 million people who had been fully vaccinated against the disease.

He said 11,371,567 had received at least one dose of the vaccines and 1,750,905 received one booster dose, an indication that many people were taking the vaccines.

Aside from the Volta Region, he said, data had shown that vaccination had improved in regions as a result of various strategies, including the national vaccination campaigns.

The GJA President, Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, in his welcome address, commended the CSOs and journalists for their significant contribution to the fight against the virus and urged them to continue their efforts.

“Journalists play a key role in debunking the misinformation, myths and rumours surrounding the virus and that is exactly what our hardworking journalists under this project have been doing,” he said.

In separate presentations, the CSOs highlighted some interventions they rolled out to support the fight against the virus, including vaccination campaigns on traditional media and in communities; distribution of personal protective equipment  and  facilitation of access to vaccines and essential medicines

In their estimation, the interventions were yielding positive results as many of the target people in their project implementation areas in more than four regions, were receiving the vaccines.

By Jonathan Donkor

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