The Ashanti Regional Health Directorate, as part of efforts to sustain the fight against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, has held a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss strategies for effective public education.
The meeting was also aimed at scaling up risk communication and community engagement on the pandemic, through the stakeholders who occupied positions that could largely influence behavior and also enforce compliance to the safety protocols.
It was attended by representatives from the clergy, Islamic communities, National Commission for Civic Education, Information Services Department, security agencies, emergency services and the National House of Chiefs.
“Sustaining the COVID-19 Third Wave Fight in Ashanti Region: The Role of Stakeholders,” was the theme chosen for the meeting.
Dr. Michael Rockson Adjei, the Deputy Regional Director of Health Services in charge of Public Health, said the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the country had been a game changer in fighting the pandemic.
He bemoaned the slow response to the vaccination exercise in the Region and urged the public to disregard the various conspiracy theories about the vaccines and avail themselves of the exercise.
He said all pre-qualified vaccines met the minimum safety and efficacy standards and that common adverse events may occur after vaccination and these may be normal signs of immune response.
Several COVID-19 vaccines, he noted, had been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and that all those being administered in Ghana had been given emergency authorization by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
He disclosed that about 3.3 million people needed to be vaccinated in the Region to achieve herd immunity but only 326,929 had been vaccinated.
Receiving at least one dose of COVID vaccine significantly reduces risk of hospitalization by 76 per cent, he stated.
Dr. Adjei said disregard for the safety protocols, especially in public places, continued to be a major challenge to the COVID-19 fight and charged the participants to insist on adherence.
Ms. Aminata Grace Kobie, Risk Communication Specialist from the WHO Regional Office for Africa, entreated the participants to desist from reposting negative messages they come across on social media as their contribution to the fight.
She underlined the need for Africans to guard against complacency because of the weak health systems in Africa, saying that if what was happening in the west happened here, the continent would be overwhelmed.