Tackling hesitancy to spice up COVID-19 vaccine uptake in Ghana

Tackling hesitancy to spice up COVID-19 vaccine uptake in Ghana

Accra – In his wheelchair, armed with a loudhailer, neighborhood volunteer Abednego Afreh goes from door to door in his neighbourhood, quelling the fears of his fellow Ghanaians as he urges them to get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19.

His work, together with that of greater than 100 different volunteers educated by the Ghana Well being Service, with help from World Well being Group (WHO) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance, collectively mobilized and vaccinated about 90 000 individuals in all 11 districts of Bono East district, in simply 15 days from 25 November to 9 December 2022

About one-third had been vaccinated with their first dose, whereas the rest acquired second or booster photographs, marking vital strides to handle vaccine hesitancy and the risk it poses to Ghana’s battle in opposition to the pandemic.

Afreh, 34 and from the Sene East District, was pushed by a deep concern concerning the low uptake. He refuses to let his incapacity get in the way in which of what he believes is his civic responsibility to assist educate his neighborhood concerning the essential significance of vaccination.

Regardless of the provision of vaccines, he says many individuals throughout the nation had been refusing to be immunized “as a result of they concern one thing will occur to them after the injection.”

His message is that vaccines are essential instruments to assist beat COVID-19. “I transfer from door to door and go to public locations to encourage individuals to get their jabs,” Afreh says.

Explaining the depth of the problem, Bono East Well being Director Dr Fred Adomako-Boateng says the variety of first-time vaccine recipients dropped considerably between two mass vaccination campaigns in these areas in February and July 2022. For the February one, about six in each ten individuals had been first-time recipients. By July, that quantity had halved to about three in each 10.

“Sequential mass vaccination campaigns witnessed a constant decline within the variety of individuals accepting the vaccine, with about half of the goal inhabitants but to take their jab,” Adomako-Boateng says, including that vaccination companies are additionally out there routinely.

In response, WHO, with funding from Gavi, the vaccine alliance, supplied monetary and technical help to the Authorities of Ghana to implement the neighborhood member-led demand technology technique within the area final November.

WHO’s Consultant to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo, notes that since Bono East is one in every of that nation’s main worldwide transit factors, the danger of latest variant importation can’t be underestimated. “It’s due to this fact necessary to make sure sufficient safety of the populace to mitigate unfold,” he stresses.

The neighborhood educators acquired coaching in interpersonal communication. With cultural competence and topic information, they tackle myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines to win over hesitant neighborhood members.

Afreh says: “The coaching was very essential in boosting my information and confidence ranges to have interaction and persuade individuals in our district to take the vaccine.”

Lately vaccinated Kofi Anoma is only one such individual: “The movies circulating on social media made me scared to go for the vaccine, however then a neighborhood educator defined the problems to me.

“I took the vaccine and skilled no uncomfortable side effects aside from a gentle fever. I’m blissful I took it and can come for the second dose when it’s due,” he says.

The influence of the neighborhood educators has already confirmed the technique to be a worthwhile funding in tackling vaccine uptake points linked to lack of knowledge and hesitancy. Going ahead, nevertheless, the advantages are anticipated to be seen lengthy into the longer term.

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