As part of efforts to promote vaccine uptake in Ghana, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), in partnership with the National Association of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+ Ghana), Young Health Advocates Ghana (YHAG), and the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS), with technical support from the UNAIDS-Ghana and the Ghana Health Service is implementing the second phase of the Partnership for Accelerated Covid-19 Testing (PACT) 2.0 project to strengthen the community engagement in response to COVID-19 hesitancy reduction in Ghana.
The goal of this initiative is to reduce COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and maximize vaccine uptake among Persons Living with HIV.
To achieve the goals of the project, 40 volunteers comprising of Models of Hope, Community Adolescent Treatment Supporters, Mentor Mothers, YHAG, and NAP+ Ghana have been recruited as vaccine champions to lead the advocacy at the community level for vaccine acceptance in the Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions.
The volunteer champions attended two separate workshops in Accra and Kumasi, where they received training to enable them to engage people in the community and to reach out to PLHIV in the health facilities and Drop-in Centres (DICs) at the facility level.
The volunteers were empowered with knowledge on how to engage their peers, local authorities, social welfare, Queen mothers, and faith-based leaders to participate in social mobilization campaigns towards COVID-19 acceptance and vaccination. They were also trained on effective communication strategies to build confidence and sensitize the public on myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines.
Addressing participants, the Executive Director of HFFG, Mrs. Cecelia Senoo urged the Vaccine Champions to focus more on working with urgency to achieve their targets under the project.
Mr. Daniel Ato Ashun, an expert from the Disease Control Unit, Ghana Health Service, provided technical support on general knowledge about COVID-19, the COVID-19 vaccine, and risk communication.
Mr. Ernest Annan-Nyame of the (Ghana Red Cross Society) encouraged the vaccine champions to invest their time, talents, and treasure into tackling vaccine hesitancy at the community level.
The empowered Vaccine Champions are expected to engage with leaders at various places (health facilities, churches, markets and mosques) to convince community members to take the COVID-19 vaccine.