Dr Kwame Amponsa Achiano

Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Programme Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization at Ghana Health Service has hailed Ghanaians for showing interest and commitment in the on-going COVID-19 mass vaccination exercise.

He said the Service had been impressed by the massive turnout by Ghanaians at centres earmarked for the exercise despite earlier skepticism due to misconceptions and misgivings regarding the safety of the vaccines procured by the government to stem the spread of the virus.

Speaking in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the National Delegate Congress of Community Health Nurses, Ghana (CHNG) in Accra on Thursday, Dr Amponsa-Achiano, said the Service was, therefore, overwhelmed by the “level of interest and patronage by Ghanaians.”

The three days delegate congress organised by CHNG and the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association was to elect leaders to run the affairs of the Group.

It is under the theme: “Harnessing Community Nurses’ Prospects, Fulcrum to Attain Preventive Health as a Nation.”

Dr Amponsa-Achiano said: “Initially because of the hesitancy bit, the conspiracy theories, we were a bit skeptical and cautiously hopeful but the turnout has been impressive,” he said.

He, however, attributed the high turnout to the numerous sensitisation exercise undertaken by the Service prior to the enrollment of the exercise.

The Programme Manager disclosed that, so far, an estimated 30,500 people had been vaccinated as of Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

Out of that, about 16,990 of them were males while 13,450 were female, he said.

He further disclosed that about 11,500 frontline health workers also had been vaccinated so far.

Ghana on February 24, this year took delivery of 600,000 doses of Covishield the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX facility for free. The government is looking to vaccinate about 20 million of the population against the virus.

Dr Amponsa-Achiano said the Service was considering extending the duration of the exercise from seven to 14 days due to some challenges including tablet malfunctions and overcrowding witnessed in some districts and regions.

“Initially, we hoped to complete the first phase within seven days but due to some challenges witnessed in some districts and regions, we, in turn, to extend the duration by seven more days,” he explained.

The Programme Manager commended frontline health workers, particularly community health nurses for their selfless efforts in delivering healthcare in hard-to-reach communities across the country.

On the national delegate congress, Mrs Perpetual Ofori Ampoful, President, GRNMA said the role of community health nurses could not be underestimated in the attainment of Universal Health Coverage because they were located in the remotest of places across the country.

She, therefore, assured the Group of the Association’s support towards ensuring that they had better conditions of service and called for unity among healthcare groups to ensure that their needs were met.

“We need a unified force to achieve a better working condition. At any point in time, we must be singing the same song so that our stakeholders will appreciate and respect us when we are talking about certain issues,” Mrs Ampoful said.

Mr Felix Hagan, Interim Chairman of CHNG, appealed to the Ministry of Health and its agencies to prioritise implementation of the conditions of service of community health nurses to reduce their plight.

He said that was the only way to ensure the improvement of health service delivery in communities to eradicate communicable diseases such as poliomyelitis, smallpox, guinea worm disease, among others.

CHNG is one of 17 specialised groups under the GRNMA.

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