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Stigma and discrimination related to disability, and mental health conditions, are widespread in Ghana. They present a major barrier which prevent people with disabilities, including people with mental health conditions, from equitably accessing health and social opportunities.


This briefing is a summary of a study conducted in November 2020 by Ghana Somubi Dwumadie. The overall objective of the formative study was to provide a contextual understanding of the prevailing drivers and manifestations of stigma related to disability, including mental health conditions, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes manifestations of both experiences and practices.
Data was collected through a literature review, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs) and a questionnaire-based survey of study participants.



Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) has secured a grant under the UNAIDS Solidarity Fund – Social Enterprise Development (SED) intervention which seeks to support young people in the development of social enterprises to help them recover from hardships they have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of the six-month initiative is to support the health and economic empowerment of young people and also improve their socioeconomic status. The project is being rolled-out in the initial pilot phase in five countries including Ghana, Uganda, India, Brazil and Madagascar.

HFFG is one of the three civil society organizations in Ghana that applied to UNAIDS and was successful in securing the grant.

Under this initiative, HFFG with support from UNAIDS-Ghana is helping seven (7) young beneficiaries to establish two social enterprises namely: Martin Greenhouse Vegetable Farm (MGF) and No Weapon Fashion Design (NWFD).

MGF will produce vegetables in sheltered structures which will provide adequate growing conditions. This technique will also protect the vegetables from pests and diseases as well as adverse weather conditions. Some of the vegetables to be farmed include cucumbers, green and red peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers.

Similarly, NWFD will provide services to key populations living in Tema and its surrounding areas. These services will include sewing apparels for different occasions, mainly for women and children and provide mentorships to apprentices in the community interested in fashion.

The long-term plan of NWFD is to set up a training school in fashion design for the beneficiaries in the area who would like alternative livelihoods.

Activities carried out so far:

Activities carried out so far:

● Mentorship sessions and capacity building is ongoing for the team members to equip them with more knowledge in the chosen venture.

● Under the MGF, the land for the farm has already been secured and cleared as well. There are two sites that the project is being undertaken currently. The first with the greenhouse is at Dzorwulu where it is being piloted and will eventually be moved to Adukrom in the Eastern region of Ghana on a larger scale.

● The processes for the building of the MGF greenhouse is underway and will be completed in few weeks to come.

● Preparations are also underway for the establishment of the fashion design house for the no Weapon Fashion Design enterprise to take off.



A PLHIV who took a bold decision to accept her condition, adhered to therapy and now, an entrepreneur.

Grace is a 21-year-old lady who was diagnosed with HIV and initiated on ARVs during  the outbreak of Covid-19. Covid-19 has been a big disruption to achieving the 95-95-95 HIV target. During the peak of the pandemic, the USAID Care Continuum Project adopted a door-to-door strategy to intensify its case finding among the general and key populations.  Pregnant women and children, boys and men, adolescent girls and young women including female sex workers (FSW) were reached within this period.

Grace was one of the female sex workers who tested positive in the Jomoro district.  Having gone through denial for a while, she finally accepted to enrol on treatment.  After taking her ARVs for the first 3 months, she insisted on taking a viral load test “because that’s the only way to know if the ARVs are really working” she said. She was directed to the laboratory for her sample to be taken on 19th August, 2020. Her results came on the 30th of October, 2020 and she was virally suppressed.

She had become virally suppressed within 3 months of therapy.  This made her very happy and hopeful for the future. In one of her discussions with our Project Officer she spoke about starting a lucrative business to support herself.  In  May 2021, Grace successfully opened her own food joint.

 In her advice to persons newly diagnosed with HIV, she said “PLHIVs should be comfortable having open conversations with others in the same condition for support and guidance as well as adhere to their ARVs and soon, they will become virally suppressed like me.”



Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) a Sub-Recipient (SR) of the HIV component of the Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) intervention under the Global Fund New Funding Model III (NFMIII) grant under Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) as Principal Recipient (PR), has held stakeholders engagement meetings with health professionals from the Volta, Oti, Ashanti, Greater Accra, Bono, Bono East, Western and Western North Regions of Ghana.

The purpose of the engagement meetings held between May and June 2021 was to :

  • Provide updates on the implementation of CSS intervention
  • Discuss the selection criteria for community cadres (Models of Hope, Mentor Mothers, Case Managers and Community Adolescent Treatment Supporters (CATS)
  • Discuss the various cadre numbers, roles, responsibilities and working relationship
  • Solicit for support and partnership in the implementation to achieve overall goal of the Global Fund New Fund Model III project

These meetings were attended by Regional and Deputy Regional Health Directors, Metro, Municipal and District Heath Directors, Medical Superintendents of health facilities, Regional HIV Coordinators, Regional Data Officers, ART in-charges and midwives

In Ho, addressing the participants made up of Regional Health Directors, Municipal/District Directors of Health, Medical Superintendents, Midwives, Nurse in Charges, Data Officers and Regional HIV focal persons, the Executive Director of HFFG, Mrs Cecilia Senoo, said the NFMIII which has CHAG the Principal Recipient seeks to complement Ghana’s efforts to achieving the UNAIDS goal of achieving the 95-95-95 and ultimately ending HIV/AIDS. She said the HIV component of the Community Systems Strengthening intervention aims to Scale up quality HIV care cascade through community engagement and addressing human rights barriers.

She took participants through the various criteria and standards for selecting the volunteers like Models of Hope, Mentor Mother, Case Managers, Community Adolescents Treatment Supporters and Peer Paralegals as well as their roles and responsibilities.

Mrs Senoo urged the health professionals to continue to support HFFG to ensure the goals of the initiative are achieved in the regions.

The Deputy Volta Regional Director of Health, Dr Senanu Kwesi Dzokoto, in his address commended HFFG for organizing such an engagement in the region. He noted that there is a need for participants to work as a team to meet the 95-95- 95 HIV target for Ghana.

In the Ashanti Region, the Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang also said for the 95-95-95 target to be achieved, the Ghana Health Service and CSOs need to work together closely to enhance output.

In the same light, Mrs Gifty Ofori-Ansah, the Director of Health Services, Ningo-Prampram also called for the need to intensify community actions to reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination in communities.

In the Bono region, Mr. Obeng Hinneh, the Regional HIV/TB coordinator who represented the Bono Regional Director of Health of health services praised HFFG for working closely with the Regional Health Directorates for effective implementation of projects.   

In general, the regional stakeholders meetings organized by HFFG as a Sub-Recipient under CHAG (Principal Recipient) were successful with all stakeholders pledging to support the intervention in their respective facilities and regions.



Participants drawn from 7 disability organisations, including two mental health groups in Greater Accra and the Western regions have benefitted from an education session on the current issues on COVID-19 and the services available to persons with disabilities and how to access those services.

The session which was organised by Hope for Future Generations and the PsykForum took place at the Sunlodge Hotel Accra on 21st May 2021 and the Aya Community Centre, Ellembelle in the Western Region as part of a one year project titled Help for Helpers+ psychosocial support for health workers and persons with disabilities including mental health conditions under the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie.

The goal of the project is to provide psychosocial support to health workers and people with lived experiences of disabilities including mental health conditions in the Greater Accra and Western Regions during the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana.

Participants were taken through COVID-19 education where issues on prevention, treatments and myths were discussed extensively. Participants were encouraged to support the campaign on vaccination exercises on-going in the country and ensure their members have information and take the vaccination.

The facilities and services available to persons with disabilities as stipulated in the Disability Act were also discussed and participants were encouraged to take advantage of such provisions made for them. While very grateful about the education on what the Law said, some of the participants lamented that they were yet to experience the reality of such provisions.

A stakeholder engagement was held with representatives from Social Welfare departments, Health Facilities and Municipal Health Directorates Participants shared their experiences in adhering to the COVID-19 protocols and challenges in accessing health care services.  Participants shared some of their experiences with the stakeholders. A key feedback from the engagement was the fact that most of the participants and other persons with disabilities were missed during the distribution of relief items to vulnerable groups during the COVID partial lockdown. Some also suggest that persons with disabilities including mental health conditions should be given priority in the vaccination exercise. A participant praised Hope for Future Generations for ‘bringing persons with disabilities together to engage and discuss the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities including mental health conditions  and what needs to be done moving forward




Background

Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) in partnership with The PsyKForum has received a grant from Ghana Somubi Dwumadie to implement a three-year project on Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) and Stigma reduction for mental health and disability inclusion in 4 regions across the country.

As part of the efforts to measure the outcome indicators, we would conduct a baseline assessment at the commencement of the project implementation and an end line assessment after implementation at designated regions/district.

Project Title:

Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) and stigma reduction for mental health and disability inclusion (Ghana Participatory SBC) project

Project Goal:

Reduction in negative and discriminatory attitudes, behaviours and norms faced by people with disabilities in Ghana, including people with mental health conditions

Project location:

  • Greater Accra Region Districts
    • Accra Metropolitan, Ashaiman Municipal, Ayawaso East Municipal, La Dade Kotopon Municipal , La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal
  • Central Region Districts
    • Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam District, Awutu Senya East Municipal, Ekumfi District, Abura- Asebu- Kwamankese, Komenda- Edina- Eguafo- Abirem
  • North East Region Districts
    • East Mamprusi Municipal, West Mamprusi Municipal, Chereponi District, Bunkpurugu Nyankpanduri
  • Savannah Region Districts
    • Central Gonja District, East Gonja Municipal, North Gonja District, Sawla-Tuna- Kalba District

Description of Assignment

  • Specific Objectives of the assignment:
    • Develop the data collection tools for the baseline assessment
    • Determine the sample size for the baseline assessment and sample size to interview within a specific region and/or district.
    • Provide training on the tools for project staff to do a step down
    • Clean and analysis the final data collected through the mobile device
    • Share draft assessment report for input
    • Write the baseline assessment report
  • Data Collection:

We would use Kobo tools, a cloud-based data collection platform to collect the data on a mobile device. After you develop the baseline data collection tools, the MEL manager will design it on Kobo platform and train the enumerator on how to use the mobile device for data collection and sync to the cloud.

Time Frame and Submission of contract items

ActivityTime Frame
Development of data collection tools4 – 7 June, 2021
Submission of drafted tool for feedback 8th June, 2021
HFFG provides feedback to consultant by 11th June, 2021
Training of project staff (can be virtual)14th June, 2021
Submit draft reportOne week after submission of the data collected from the mobile device
Submit final baseline report2 days after submitting feedback from HFFG

Deadline: Tuesday June 8, 2021

Send application and relevant documents to info@hffg.org

Hope For Future Generations

Odotei Tsui Loop, adjacent Ghana Refugee Board,
Dzorwulu, Accra East

GPS: GA-121-2572

(+233 (0) 303 971 433 / 303 971 435



HFFG under the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project advocates for ART unit for Bamiankor Health Centre

Continuous and easy access to antiretroviral therapy is key to the global response to end AIDS. Bamiankor Health Centre in Nzema East District, Ghana was formally a facility that picked up antiretroviral therapy drugs (ARVs) from Axim Government Hospital for HIV positive clients identified within its territory. The facility became inactive for clients due to funds for nurses’ transportation to Axim Government Hospital every month for drugs pick-up. As a result, the few people on treatment at the facility defaulted because they could not also get money for transportation to go for their drugs at Axim.

Due to these challenges, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) allocated some funds meant to follow-up on defaulters available to facility nurses to pick-up ARVs from Axim Government Hospital, in order to reduce the rate of defaulters in Nzema East District. HFFG staff with the support from USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project also made available extra supply of ARVs to Bamiankor Health Centre from Axim Government Hospital every month to aid newly identified and initiated PLHIV during outreaches.

As a result of this new initiative of drugs pick up to Bamianko Health Centre, all cases identified are initiated the same day due to the supply of drugs from Axim Government Hospital. Highlighting on the aim, clients were also advised to prepare for viral load samples taking which occurs after 6 months of being on medication. The viral load testing is only done at Axim Government Hospital and it is compulsory for all clients to take part to check viral load suppression.

In order to sustain this initiative, HFFG decided to engage facility heads to be able to allocate some funds derived by the hospital to support deliver drugs to other health facilities which may have more PLHIV, but lack drugs for initiation which didn’t work out due to lack of funds.

The effort didn’t end there. HFFG followed up with JSI and Axim ART Centre to facilitate the process of making Bamianko an ART Centre with trained nurses to manage the place. JSI also followed up with the Regional Director of Health Services and the District Director of Health Services for the initiative. Now the dream has become a reality. In this month of April, 2021 Bamianko Health Centre has been declared an ART Centre with trained nurses to manage the place.

All logistics have also been sent to the facility to facilitate the process. Clients under USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project now, other clients and future ones in and around Bamianko ART Centre will have easy access to their medications to prevent defaulters and lost to follow up (LTFU). This in the long way will contribute to effective case management and viral load suppression.

Thanks to HFFG, JSI and USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project.



HFFG is committed to shaping the lives of women, children and young people by giving them equal opportunities to live a better life. Just as we have been doing in the past 20 years, the first quarter of 2021 saw us continuing to work hard in the various communities we operate in throughout Ghana.

We are excited to share with you news on our selection as a sub-recipient by the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) to lead the HIV component of the Community Systems Strengthening intervention under the Global Fund New Funding Model III.As an organization guided by the use of advocacy at all levels to improve lives and achieve long lasting impact, we are equally glad to share with you updates on our activities largely focusing on advocacy at different levels.

Read our Newsletter HERE



26th April, 2021

The World Immunization Week is celebrated annually during the last week of April as a global campaign to raise awareness on the importance of vaccines and immunization in protecting people against vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization is essential to the wellbeing of everyone; therefore, its importance cannot be overemphasized. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF note that immunization and vaccines save millions of lives every year.

This year’s World Immunization Week theme, “Vaccine Brings Us Closer”, among others, urges greater engagements and conversation around immunization globally and emphasizes how vaccination connects people, helping improve the health of everyone, including ways that promote growth, development, and wellbeing.

To give meaning to the theme, the Ghana Immunization Advocacy Initiative (IAI) Network, comprising SEND GHANA, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), and Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) plan to hold series of campaign activities. These include engagement sessions with health system decision-makers on immunization financing at all levels of government, raising awareness on the importance of routine immunization at the community level, and building confidence and trust among citizens, leading to increased vaccine acceptance.

The Network holds the view that the government’s commitment to immunization financing is low. Presently, the government is utilizing an unspecified portion of the National Health Fund (NHF) to support the procurement of vaccines and routine immunization activities. This may not be sustainable and could present serious challenges for securing vaccines for immunizing children under 5. The outbreak of COVID-19 and Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in 2020 brought additional challenges to the health sector, further exposing the existential financial gaps faced by the sector. Despite this, the budgetary allocation as its percentage share of the National Budget experienced a marginal decline from 7.66% in 2020 to 7.5% in 2021.

Against this background and further to the IAI intended actions, the network makes the following recommendations for consideration by the government and the African Union (AU).

  1. Find the fiscal space to sustain an increase in budgetary allocation to the health sector, and increasing budget support for the expanded programme on immunization. Revenue realized from COVID-19 levy and any potential revenue influx should be broadened to cover all vaccines and immunization related services.
  1. Set aside a dedicated budget to finance Epidemic Preparedness and implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), as well as the Ghana Centre for Disease Control to respond to the threat of epidemics.
  1. Expedite procurement of the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and increase public awareness to ensure that the progress made in addressing vaccine hesitancy within the period is not eroded. Additionally, people living within the meningitis belt must be vaccinated against CSM, and children from the age of 0-2years received all 13 vaccines to protect them against preventable diseases.
  1. Invest in research and development, build the capacity of local pharmaceutical companies to respond to Ghana’s immunization needs and future pandemics through local vaccine manufacturing and development programs.
  1. The AU should explore ways to harness the potential of Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to promote continent-based solutions to the health needs of the people. As a medium to long-term approach, the AU could begin to produce vaccines within, to increase vaccine security and reduce procurement from outside the continent.

Signed

George Osei-Bimpeh

(Country Director, SEND GHANA)

For interviews, please contact:

Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, Senior Programme officer, SEND GHANA (0244982439)

Gladys Damalin, IAI programme Coordinator, HFFG (0244573219)

Bright Amissah-Nyarko, Chairman, GCNH (02011565



The Help for Helpers+ psychosocial support for frontline health workers and persons with mental disabilities is a one year project being implemented by HFFG and the PsykForum with funding from The Ghana Somubi Dwumadie.

The goal of the project is to provide psychosocial support to health workers and people with lived experiences of disabilities in the Greater Accra and Western Regions during the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana. In the Greater Accra Region, the project is run in four (4) districts namely: La Dade Kotopon, Korle Klottey, Ayawaso West and Ga East Municipalities. Ellembelle and Secondi Takoradi make up the districts in the Western Region.

Project Outcomes:

  • Reduced COVID-19 related work stress among health workers
  • Increased access to health care among people with disabilities, including people with mental health conditions
  • Reduced stigma and discrimination at the health facilities among people with COVID-19

By the end of the project’s first quarter (October – January) , 139 frontline health workers were provided with psychoeducation. Psychoeducation is a systematic, and structured didactic knowledge transfer on mental health/illness and how to cope and thrive in spite of the condition. For this particular exercise there was psychoeducation on the different dynamics of covid-19 such as the economic, social, political and mental health implications and how to cope.

It further educated participants on mental health through the life-span and the potential challenges that can develop if one’s mental health is not taken seriously. For frontline workers it is particularly important since some have suffered social stigma, extreme stress and personal grief during covid-19 especially as a result of providing covid-19 related service and or contracting COVID in the process of providing service.

Considering the overall importance of the intervention, the Head of the Ghana Ambulance Service signed a total of 87 emergency medical technicians, paramedics to be provided with Psycho education. Similarly, 52 health workers were also trained at the Police Hospital for the same reason.