May 16, 2020
Share onBy HFFG
Hope for Future Generations as part of its 20th Anniversary has launched a menstrual hygiene initiative aimed at supporting 500,000 girls with 3 million sanitary pads.
Dubbed Pads for Girls Everywhere, the initiative was officially launched on Tuesday 28th July, 2020 with a donation of 1,000 sanitary pads to about 220 girls from Kadjanya and Pediatorkope, two communities in the Ada East District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
Speaking at the launch of the year-long intervention at Kadjanya, the Executive Director of HFFG, Cecilia Senoo explained that the project seeks to promote good menstrual hygiene management for girls (both in school and out of school) including those living with disabilities.
She indicated that HFFG by this project wants to break the negative social norms around menstruation and engage decision-makers, traditional leaders and opinion leaders to increase the political priority for Menstrual Hygiene at all levels.
“Menstruation should not be a barrier to prevent any girl from achieving her dreams. No girl should miss classes due to lack of sanitary pads. No girl should have health problems with her sexual and reproductive organ because of the use of unhygienic materials,” Mrs Senoo stated.
She called on the Government of Ghana to reduce or remove taxes on sanitary pads to make them more accessible to girls everywhere.
At Pediatorkope D/A Basic School located on an Island Community, 500 hundred sanitary pads were distributed to final year students preparing for their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), as well as those out of school.
Headmaster of the Pediatorkope D/A Basic School, Mr David Numo expressed gratitude for the donation, noting that it will go a long way to boost the confidence of girls in the school, especially as they prepare for their exams.
Queen Mother of the Adibiawe clan in the Ada traditional area, Naana Adiki Manyeyo Adi at a community durbar thanked HFFG for choosing Ada as one of the beneficiaries of the intervention. She encouraged parents to be committed to the provision of the basic needs of their daughters to ensure that they harness their full potentials.
“I thank Hope for Future Generations for donating the pads to us. I thank them for also educating our parents to ensure we have sanitary pads. This will keep us healthy,” Gifty, a final-year pupil of the Pediatorkope D/A Basic School stated.
February 04, 2021
Share onBy HFFG
As Ghana joins the rest of the world to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we are, as a national women-focused, community-based non-governmental organization, calling on the government of Ghana and other key stakeholders not to overlook the impact of cervical cancer on women in Ghana.
As we commemorate World Cancer Day on February 4, 2021, we urge the government of Ghana to invest in interventions that mitigate the impact of cervical cancer which is the leading and most common female cancer among women in Ghana. Data from the HPV Information Centre estimates that about “3,151 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Ghana, and despite the fact it is preventable and treatable, it is estimated that over 2000 cervical cancer deaths are recorded in Ghana annually”. This is why we believe that attention should still be paid to the cervical cancer response even as we combat Covid-19.
We are calling on the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and all allied agencies to ensure there is the availability of affordable essential medicines and technologies required to control all forms of cancers among women.
Cervical cancer is treatable when diagnosed early so there should be equity in access to quality cancer services throughout the country. Many women in Ghana do not access cervical cancer screening or treatment because they are unable to pay. To us, this is not right and for that matter, the country should explore means to include cervical cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Life-saving cancer diagnosis and treatment should be available for all. Thus, we emphasize that no Ghanaian woman’s chances of surviving cervical cancer should be based on her ability to pay for health services or not.
According to a study led by Dr Kofi Effah of the Obstetric and Gynaecological Department at the Cervical Cancer Screening and Training Center, Catholic Hospital, Battor, Ghana, approximately two-thirds (65.97%) of cervical cancer cases are presented at hospitals in their advanced stage. Awareness and early detection through regular screening will reduce this and ensure women receive intervention so cervical lesions do not develop into full-blown cancer.
The World Health Organization further notes that women living with HIV have a six-fold increased risk of cervical cancer when compared to women without HIV. HFFG also recommended that cervical cancer screening should be integrated into HIV-programming for women and girls living with HIV at all levels of HIV treatment cascade.
As we mark World Cancer Day today, we encourage Ghanaian women, aged 21 years and above to regularly screen for cervical cancer to avert late-stage presentation of the disease.
World Cancer Day is celebrated each year on 4 February to raise awareness on all forms of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. This year’s theme, “I can, we can” acknowledges that everyone has the capacity to address the cancer burden.
According to the World Health Organization, globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018 representing 7.5% of all female cancer deaths.
We are committed to increasing awareness and uptake of screening by Ghanaian women. In 2018, HFFG initiated a Cervical Cancer Awareness and Screening intervention aimed at reaching Ghanaian women with information on Cervical Cancer screening services.
As part of this, HFFG sponsored three nurses to be trained at the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Training Centre in Battor, Ghana. These nurses assist in the identification of precancerous lesions in women through community outreaches.
December 21, 2020
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A delegation from Young Health Advocates Ghana (YHAG), a national network of young people working to prevent HIV among young Ghanaians under the auspices of Hope for Future Generations on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, paid a courtesy call on the Presidential Advisor on HIV in Ghana, Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi.
The delegation led by the Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations, Mrs. Cecilia Senoo and the National President for YHAG Ms. Priscilla Addo was to formally introduce the work of YHAG to Dr. Adu-Gyamfi and to bring to her notice some challenges facing young people living with HIV in Ghana.
Ms. Priscilla Addo, the National President of YHAG presented the organisation’s profile to Dr. Adu-Gyamfi and solicited her support for young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) in Ghana to be included in the formulation of national policies and strategic plans that affect them. According to Ms. Addo, granting YPLHIV such platforms will ensure their challenges are addressed. She added that there are over twenty-one thousand YPLHIV currently in Ghana facing many challenges including stigma which leads to nondisclosure of status; battling with side effects from ARVs, discrimination, persistent shortage of ARVs in Ghana which results in one defaulting treatment and eventually building drug resistance. “Despite these challenges, the country has no national intervention focusing on YPLHIV’’, she said.
The Presidential Advisor on HIV, Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu Gyamfi expressed her surprise towards the rise in HIV cases among young people in Ghana. She indicated that the current prevalence of HIV among the youth may have generated from the fact that national interventions on HIV since 1986 when the first HIV case arrived in Ghana have not paid exclusive attention to children who were born after that year. She stated that the high cases of HIV among the youth is an “emergency” that needs to be addressed and promised to bring this to the attention of the President of Ghana and the First Lady.
Dr. Adu-Gyamfi was however gratified to see that such a well organised network of young advocates are leading the cause to prevent HIV among Ghanaian youths and promised her full support for YHAG in addressing the challenges facing YPLHIV in Ghana particularly on the issue of ARV shortages. She encouraged the Young Health Advocates to continue to speak out and make their voices heard. “You are a force to reckon with”, she added.
Adding her voice, the Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations, Mrs. Cecilia Senoo, appealed to Dr. Adu-Gyamfi to support their call to the Ministry of Finance to provide a perpetual approval of tax waivers on consignments of ARVs that are shipped into the country. According to her, the late approval of the tax waivers is the leading cause of ARV shortages in the country.
December 10, 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a serious negative impact on the most vulnerable communities worldwide and threatens progress on HIV, TB, malaria and all areas of health. To this end, Hope For Future Generations, a member of the Global Fund Advocacy Network in Africa (GFAN Africa) is leading the GFAN Africa #TheBeatContinues campaign in Ghana.
This campaign is in line with the Global Fund’s unite to fight campaign which seeks to defeat COVID-19 and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the fight against HIV, TB and malaria.
The key messages for the campaign are:
To defeat COVID-19 and safeguard the critical fight against HIV, TB & malaria, additional domestic and international funding is needed.
To defeat COVID-19, the response must address gender barriers, stigma & discrimination, and protect human rights.
To defeat COVID-19, protect progress against HIV, TB and malaria, and save lives, we must unite to fight.
December 03, 2020
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A strong civil society is essential for improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) /and Water Resource Management (WRM) governance, which remains a challenge in achieving universal access to sustainable services. In the last 5 years, Watershed empowering citizens strategic partnership has been working in Ghana to increase local CSO/citizen empowerment and engagement with government for WASH and WRM prioritisation, integration, and equitable financing.
The role of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) as a local implementing partner for SIMAVI on the intervention was to implement the programme at the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal area to improve WASH and IWRM services through citizen’s empowerment and generation of data for evidence-based WASH advocacy.
HFFG worked closely in collaboration with other Watershed partners, the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) operating in WASH sector in the Tarkwa Municipality. The programme was implemented in 15 selected communities out of the 438 communities that forms the Tarkwa Nsueam Municipality.
Through the work of HFFG and partners, the Tarkwa Municipal Assembly identified and repaired 63 broken WASH facilities in addition to construction of new Water points. Again, the Tarkwa Assembly trained and revamped community Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs) in 40 communities .
Indeed the Watershed Ghana partnership has delivered many improvements in the governance and management of water resources and WASH services through evidence-based advocacy and strengthened the capacity of local civil society organizations. With the project closed-up in September 2020, the Watershed Ghana partners hosted the end of project event in October 2020 to highlight the contributions of the project towards WASH and WRM improvements in Ghana and to identify and leverage partnerships beyond the project.
Watch the close out event below:
December 01, 2020
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Every year, on 1st December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. On this day, the world unites to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to the pandemic. The celebration also brings focus on the country/world interventions to end HIV. This year is another opportunity to demonstrate solidarity and take stock of what has been achieved so far in ensuring that HIV does not continue to erode gains made by countries at various fronts of their economies and the building of their human capital, realizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of HIV services, treatment and care putting more people at risk. The theme for this year is Global solidarity, shared responsibility.
According to UNAIDS, as at 2019, adults and children living with HIV in Ghana were estimated to be 342.307. Females living with HIV in 2019 was also estimated to be 219.986, representing 64% of PLHIV. The statistics continue to show a gendered infection in Ghana at the detriment of women and girls. Numerous efforts: investments of resources, targeted interventions, as well as research and development have led to immense progress in prevention, treatment and care to defeat HIV. The very recent study results showing the effectiveness of long-acting injectable medicines (cabotegravir) for preventing HIV among women; the positive opinion on the effectiveness of the Dapivirine vaginal ring to reduce the risk of HIV infection for women add to the progress made towards defeating the disease. According to UNAIDS, globally, increased access to HIV treatment has averted around 12.1 million AIDS-related deaths since 2010. This victory calls for celebration as it has led to significant reduction of HIV transmission and related deaths. The progress though remarkable, has been unequal, notably in expanding access to antiretroviral therapy.
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting HIV prevention, treatment and care services as well as reversing gains made to defeat the disease as governments divert greater health resources into fighting COVID-19. According to UNAIDS, a six-month complete disruption in HIV treatment could cause more than 500,000 additional deaths in sub-Saharan Africa over the next year (2020–2021), bringing the region back to the 2008 HIV mortality levels.
Adolescent girls and young women continue to face unacceptably high risks of HIV infection in high-burden countries as the case is in Ghana. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been exacerbated by lock downs and prolonged periods of being out of school, which has led to early marriage, unplanned pregnancies, gender based violence and reduced enrolment of girls in school, increasing their vulnerability.
More than ever, there is need for urgent and relentless efforts by governments, donors, the private sector, civil society and communities to ensure continued focus on HIV interventions. This will help sustain efforts to defeat HIV and to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on HIV to avert new infections and deaths.
Agile Leadership and engagement of communities are necessary for a successful HIV response. Community involvement and solidarity have been paramount in providing people affected by HIV with information, services, social protection and hope. There is need for this kind of solidarity by all stakeholders to defeat HIV.
Putting people at the center of the HIV and COVID-19 response and grounding the efforts in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the two diseases. Realizing the extreme vulnerability of young women and girls, there is need to scale up prevention programmes for adolescent girls and young women for prevention, care and treatment services. There is the need for greater commitment to health through increased allocation of domestic and international resources for health and the efficient allocation and use of the resources. This will help defeat HIV and COVID-19 and prevent further loss of gains towards the critical fight against HIV. Efforts to defeat the two diseases must guarantee that everyone, everywhere, has access to healthcare they need whenever they need it. No one should be left behind because healthcare is a human right whose access should not at all depend on a person’s financial prowess.
The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call, an opportunity to invest better, and together, for desired health outcomes. Largely, the end of HIV as a public health threat and the achievement of sustainable development goal 3 on the health and wellbeing for all is dependent on how well COVID-19 is tackled.
By Cecilia Senoo
Executive Director, Hope for Future Generations and Focal Person-GFAN-Africa, Ghana.
November 22, 2020
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The Community Systems Strengthening initiative is an approach that promotes the development of informed, capable and coordinated communities, and community-based organizations, groups and structures. Under the initiative HFFG has established strong working partnerships with the Ghana Health Service structure at all levels- structures. Due to this, institutions like the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP), National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the National AIDS Control Program have provided technical support to the intervention which has reinitiated 19,656 HIV defaulters back on treatment and also helped identified 712 positive TB cases and still counting.
November 22, 2020
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Under the Community Systems intervention of the WAPCAS/Global Fund NFM II intervention, 88 TB champions from 33 districts in 9 regions of Ghana were identified and empowered to undertake contact tracing, intensified case finding, DOT adherence counselling, follow-up on lost cases, drug monitoring at facilities, effective documentation and reporting. TB Champions from January 2019 to July 2020, were able to screen over 17,971 clients out of which 523 people from 6991 presume TB cases tested positive after going through TB testing at the various health facilities. Persons who tested positive were put on treatment.
TB Champions are persons who have been cured of TB and have dedicated their time and resources to serve as advocates in their communities to spread information on TB in order to get persons who might exhibit signs and symptoms of TB to get tested and if positive be enrolled on TB treatment.
November 02, 2020
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Tuberculosis (TB) was declared a global emergency in 1993 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite available interventions initiated by the WHO and some countries, the disease remains a key public health concern. The rates of TB infection and its associated burden is unevenly distributed across the globe with greater severity in lower and middle income countries including Ghana.
Tuberculosis (TB) still constitutes a serious public health problem in Ghana. This is irrespective of the implementation of the Directly Observed Treatment short course (DOTS) strategy since 1994; adoption of the World Health Organization (WHO) Stop TB strategy in 2006; and availability of DOTS facilities in most districts in the Ghana. Accessibility of DOTS services is still not sufficient as majority of the population live at considerable distance from the DOTS centers and most TB diagnostic and treatment centers are located in urban areas. Stigma and discrimination, poor knowledge about TB transmission and cultural beliefs that TB is a spiritual disease, are factors that contribute to poor health seeking behavior and delay or failure to access early health care services.
According to the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund, Ghana, the TB burden in Ghana as at 2013 was 290/100,000 – four times higher than the world average of 71/100,000 for that same year. Innovative interventions to increase case detection were therefore urgently needed to ensure a surge in TB case detection.
The Global Fund NFM II, under WAPCAS’ Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) intervention, have trained a total of 88 TB champions from 33 districts in 9 regions of Ghana: Greater Accra, Western Region, Western North, Central, Northern, Eastern, Bono, Bono East and Ashanti. TB Champions are persons who have been cured of TB and have dedicated their time and resources to serve as advocates in their communities to spread information on TB in order to get persons who might exhibit signs and symptoms of TB to get tested and if positive be enrolled on TB treatment. The training was conducted by the National TB Control programme, West African Programme to Combat AIDS and STI’s (WAPCAS), Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) and the Ghana National TB Voice Network. TB Champions serve as treatment supporters. They screen and transport sputum to the health facilities for testing. They also refer presumed TB clients to the facility for testing, follow up on defaulting clients in their communities and lead them back to care. They conduct community sensitization and education on TB, carry out drug pick-up exercises, and undertake peer led referrals for TB clients to the facility for treatment and index testing. Many of them are treatment supporters for the newly diagnosed cases. The aim of these activities is to reach out to the hidden TB clients in the communities and ensure that they are provided with the needed care and services.
“TB Champions are a major stakeholder in the fight against Ending TB in Ghana. This is to say they play a critical role in Ending TB in Ghana through active TB case finding at the community level,” says Mr Jerry Amoah Larbi, National Secretary of the Ghana National TB Voice Network.
TB Champions from January 2019 to July, 2020, have been able to screen over 17,971 clients out of which 523 people from 6991 presume TB cases tested positive after going through TB testing at the various health facilities. Clients who tested positive were put on treatment.
This feat was achieved by the TB Champions through varied strategies which include but not limited to: planning with district and facility TB focal persons, Coordinators and Project Officers to map out high burden communities for intensive contact tracing exercises, visiting very hard to reach communities such as illegal mining areas popularly known as ‘Galamsey sites, ghettos noted for drugs users, sand winning and quarry sites, hamlets and shanty settlements.
The most significant of these strategies is the transportation of sputum from presumed TB clients to the facility for testing. This has proven to be a very significant addition to the TB case detection process as it has reduced the excuses given for not going for the TB test even when people exhibit symptoms of TB. After testing, TB Champions are provided with feedback on the samples they supply to the health facilities for testing. If positive, TB Champions follow up to clients’ houses to inform them about the results of the test, mostly in the company of the Coordinators or TB focal persons. The TB Champions at this point counsel the clients and agrees on dates to accompany positive clients to the health facility to begin treatment. The Champions at the DOTS centers serve as the treatment supporters for newly diagnosed positive TB clients, meaning they are responsible for ensuring that clients adhere to medication given them until they recover.
Ebenezer Odoom, from the Weija-Gbawe Municipality in the Greater Accra Region is a beneficiary of the work of TB Champions. He was first diagnosed of TB at the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Hospital in Accra after a short illness. Ebenezer was enrolled on treatment immediately. However, four months into his treatment, he was no longer responding to treatment. After a second examination, it was detected that he was suffering from a type of TB known as the Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR). The MDR is a type of TB caused by bacteria that are resistant to some of the first-line TB drugs. To cure an MDR TB, he was administered a daily injection in addition to his medication for nine months.
“This was a difficult time in my life. I defaulted the TB treatment but a TB Champion traced me to my house. He kept encouraging me to enroll on the second line TB treatment. The TB Champion told me his story about how he was once in my situation. I agreed to be enrolled on treatment again. I was finally declared free from TB,” says Ebenezer, who has since his recovery volunteered as a TB Champion under the CSS project to identify positive TB cases and to provide treatment support to TB clients in his community.
“The work of TB Champions has been beneficial to the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem (KEEA) Municipality,” explains Jonathan Kissi, a TB Coordinator.
“The benefits include the increase in awareness on TB, increase in the number of samples sent to the lab for further investigation, and the increase in number of TB cases identified. Through their work they have prevented the emergence of defaulters and prevented the spread of TB through contact tracing and screening,” Mr Kissi adds.
October 15, 2020
Share onBy HFFG
The HIV situation remains a challenge with an estimated 38 million people infected worldwide as of 2019 (UNAIDS, 2019).
In Ghana, the Ghana AIDS Commission estimates about 342,307 people living with HIV/AIDS in 2019 out of 30.5 million Ghanaians (GAC, 2019).
Despite all endeavors in HIV/AIDS testing and linkages, enrolment and sustaining clients on treatment still remains a major challenge.
The Community System Strengthening (CSS) intervention, funded by The Global Fund under WAPCAS/Global Fund New Funding Model II (NFM II) project and implemented by Hope for Future Generations, seeks to scale up quality HIV care cascade through community engagement and addressing human rights barriers.
This project is being implemented in thirty-three (33) districts in 10 regions of Ghana.
Models of Hope (MoH) are Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV).
They facilitate better client outcomes through the provision of hope and services to their fellow PLHIV using themselves as a living testimony on adherence to medication and living a positive lifestyle.
Under the CSS intervention, 342 MoH have been trained by the National AIDS Control Program (NACP), National Tuberculosis Program (NTP), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), The Ghana-West Africa Program to Combat AIDS and STI (WAPCAS) and Hope for Future Generations (HFFG). The training provided models with skills to support activities along with the global HIV targets (90-90-90).
Models of Hope undertake community education on HIV and AIDS, risk assessment and facilitation of clients for testing at the facility or community level, identify client’s preference for service delivery, support newly diagnosed clients for early initiation of treatment, undertake adherence counseling and support, follow up on Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) who are not on treatment and lost-to-follow-up.
They also follow up on families of PLHIV who have not tested for HIV and refer them for partner and family-based index case testing. MoH also provides home-based care to bed-ridden clients and ensures adherence to appointment schedules among others.
From January to August 2020, Models of Hope reached over 57,000 PLHIV clients and provided home-based care services to 2,405. Out of the clients reached, 9,000 defaulting clients were identified and re-initiated. This was achieved through different strategies especially, home visits to encourage defaulters to be re-initiated on treatment.
They also use the medium of phone calls to remind defaulting clients about their appointment dates for medical review.
The contribution of Models of Hope has been immensely appreciated by the Anti-retroviral treatment units at the various facilities they have been allocated. Supporting the work of the ART units by following up on defaulting clients allowing the ART team some time to concentrate on the other aspects of clinical services.
They also support in screening for possible TB cases in the facility and refer any suspected client to the TB unit for testing and treatment.
The Models of Hope also serve as treatment supporters to some of the PLHIV clients who visit the health facility.
Using themselves as mentors, Models of Hope go the extra mile to ensure clients are provided with the required care and to ensure they stay on treatment by visiting and motivating them.
They provide home-based care to those who are bed-ridden, carrying out drug pick-up services to clients who for some reason are not able to visit the facility for their medication.
In some facilities, the models are an integral part of the ART management team. They are responsible for picking and filling folders of clients during clinic days.
The Models of Hope have indeed been very supportive in the delivery of HIV/AIDS care. They have contributed immensely to Ghana’s efforts to ending AIDS by 2030.
Ama Nyarko, a Model of Hope located based in Cape Coast is of the view the capacity training she has received under the CSS intervention has gone a long way to empower community members to be in the position to take care of themselves.
“The intervention has helped strengthen the bond between newly HIV Positives and old ones. To end HIV means everyone affected must be brought on board. It is all always a joy for me to see community members interact happily and support each other,” she said.