A project to strengthen community engagement in response to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy reduction in Ghana has reached out to over 14,000 people in the Ashanti and Greater Accra regions.
The project dubbed “COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy” was implemented under the Partnership for Accelerated Contact Tracing (PACT 2.0) between May to August, this year with funding from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
It was a collaboration between Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), National Association of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+) Ghana, Young Health Advocate Ghana (YHAG), and the Ghana Red Cross Society with support from the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
Ms Catherine Bentum Williams, the Project Coordinator at HFFG, detailing the facts of target achievement at a close-out for the PACT 2.0 in Kumasi, said the initial people targeted for sensitization was 3,900.
The project, however, was able to reach out to more than 14,000 people, representing a 300 per cent increment in the initial target.
Out of this number over 2,000 people have taken the vaccine within the period of the exercise.
Ms Bentum Williams explained that maximizing vaccine uptake towards the attainment of the National HIV targets was part of the goal of the project and that a total of 2,253 Persons Living with HIV were a target part of the project.
She, however, mentioned several challenges, including far vaccination points, the unwillingness of some health workers to give the vaccine to people, and impatience among some health workers with people who exhibited signs of the virus.
Others were myths and misconceptions, churches postponing the time of engagement with members and lateness of health workers in reporting at the facilities.
She was hopeful that an increase in funding would ensure wider coverage of education and sensitization on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and other related community health problems.
Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health, commended the organizations for undertaking the project, saying that the Region had just about 30 per cent of vaccine coverage at the onset of the project, but has now moved to 42 per cent, an indication of a remarkable improvement.
He mentioned that although there was no active case of COVID-19 in Ashanti, people should strive to get vaccinated to prevent any future outbreak.
“The fight is not over, without vaccination and higher coverage there is a likelihood the region can have an outbreak,” Dr Tinkorang cautioned.