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COVID-19 Vaccination: The SEND Ghana report that diagnoses need to protect friends and families

An Official Administering COVID Test At The Airport An official administering a COVID-19 vaccine

Wed, 16 Nov 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The onset of the novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was perhaps, the one time in the world’s recent history where everything came to a standstill over something that not even the best of the earth’s scientists could immediately fully diagnose.

Economies were shattered and the wheels on which this world run grinded to halts in ways that were unprecedented and totally unplanned for.

But this was a challenge the world immediately got to work on, and when the dusts settled, and some headway had been made, the right processes begun into the production of vaccines that would reduce the threats of the virus, which until then, had caused many deaths across many nations of the world.

Soon, many countries had acquired the vaccines and with time, the majority of the world’s population had taken their shots; whether fully or partially. And then again, the wheels of the world’s economies begun to run once more, albeit a little slower than before the pandemic hit.

Vaccinating the billions of the world’s populations had to be done systematically, requiring the use of the right professionals for the job: a simple but technical job it was, but how well or not was it executed by the people who became known as the frontliners?

The case of Ghana and how its frontliners, including nurses and teachers, have and continue to play their roles in the execution of this global task is one that SEND GHANA, with funding from the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF), embarked on a comprehensive monitoring exercise to determine how well or not compliance to Ghana’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) was like.

The monitoring exercise also focused on the experiences of citizens who participated in the vaccination for the COVID-19.



SEND GHANA, a reputable and credible national Non-Governmental Organisation specialised in policy research and advocacy on pro-poor policy and development program monitoring in Ghana, gathered some very interesting findings, a number of which have received the blessings of the likes of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local health authorities.

So, what is the SEND GHANA monitoring report on compliance and citizens’ experiences all about? What are the revealing findings too?

With an overall aim of assessing compliance of Ghana’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) and the equitable uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines, the monitoring exercise combined district monitoring and data collection approach as methodologies.

The survey was also carried out in two regions of the country: the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions, across 37 vaccine centres of 8 districts (4 for each region).

In the Greater Accra Region, the districts surveyed were: Accra Metropolitan Assembly (Mamprobi Polyclinic, Kaneshie, and Obeweku Health Centre), Ashaiman (Community 22 Polyclinic, Lebanon Zone 3 Polyclinic, and Ashaiman Polyclinic), Tema (TMA Community One Polyclinic, Manhean Polyclinic, Tema General Hospital, and Tema Health Directorate), and La-Nkwantanang, Madina (Pentecost Hospital, Madina Polyclinic – Kekele, and Danfa Health Center).

In total, there were 720 citizens, with 677 of them representing 94% of the overall numbers were interviewed. By sex, the proportion of males interviewed was slightly higher (51%) than females (49%) in both regions. In the Ashanti region, interviewees encompassed 53% males and 47% females, while the Greater Accra region had less males (49%) compared with females (51%). It is interesting to note that the proportion of male and females interviewed in the Greater Accra region, mirrored the 2021 population and housing census.

A total of 653 responses were received from both teachers and health staff. Out of the 653 respondents, 443 (67.8%) were teachers while 210 (32.2%) comprised health care workers.

Regionally, 361 responses (55%) were from the Ashanti region with the remaining 292 (45%) from the Greater Accra region.

Highlights

According to the report, some of the highlights of it put together were:

- Vaccination posts at the health facilities monitored in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions recorded an average vaccination of 10 persons daily.

- Vaccination coverage among marginalized or vulnerable groups looks encouraging.

- Friends and Family were the main transmitters of information about the vaccination exercise.

- Clients were satisfied with time spent at vaccination centers and the attitude of health staff.

- Majority of surveyed health workers (90%) and teachers (86%) have received at least a dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.

- The fear of exposing family and friends to the COVID 19 disease enhanced the uptake of vaccines among teachers, healthcare workers and the general populace.

- Aside protection for family and friends, uptake of the vaccines among health staff and teachers were influenced by four other factors as follows; prioritization; adequate information about safety of the vaccines; ease of access to vaccination centres and perceived effectiveness of the vaccines against COVID-19.

Citizens’ experiences, opinions, and motivations for vaccination

But the survey focused on the responses of some people and what they thought of the exercise.

What and how they thought about the monitoring exercise were summarized as follows:

“The overwhelming majority of the citizens interviewed indicated they had taken their vaccine at the center. Only 10 people (representing 1.5%) of the 676 interviewees who interacted with the vaccination process within the three days of monitoring at each center did not receive the jab. The two regions (Greater Accra and Ashanti) contributed an equal proportion to this finding.

“The dominant reason given by the respondents in this group (those who did not receive the jab on the day of the monitoring) relates to claims that the number of clients/persons required to use the requested vaccine vial was not adequate, the unavailability of cards at the time of vaccination and inability to provide their cards for entries to be made at the point where the vaccines were administered.”

Recommendations

The Ghana Health Service should convene refresher sessions for its staff on the NDVP.

Although the monitoring findings show compliance was generally good, this is necessary to enhance high levels of compliance with guidelines of the NDVP.

Health Directorates are encouraged to sustain the vaccine promotion efforts/campaigns to contribute to the attainment of the country’s herd immunity target. This is also necessary if set targets for the various districts are to be met. As of July 2022, for instance, the Accra metropolis had fully vaccinated 46.2% of its target population. Thus, vaccination promotion and/or information and education campaigns will contribute in no small way to encourage more people to vaccinate.

Health promotion efforts for the COVID-19 vaccination exercise and subsequent vaccination exercises should adequately address possible side effects and safety as these are key for uptake.

COVID-19 vaccination communication messages should focus on the protection of family members and friends from the disease and possible deaths and less on mandates restricting access to services and employment reasons.

The Ghana Health Service should commend its staff for exhibiting good attitude and professionalism during the vaccination exercise.

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service should adopt steps to increase the availability of vaccine logistics across districts within the country.

See the full document below:



AE/DO

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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