The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) in collaboration with the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) is training 2,000 health workers to become vaccination champions.
The six-month training seeks to build the health workers’ capacity in risk communication and community engagement to address issues of disinformation and misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
Dr Frank Serebour, the President of GMA, at press conference in Accra, said COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy remained a challenge for the uptake of vaccines despite the gains made.
The Partnership for Evidence Based Response to COVID-19 (EPERC) report puts the overall vaccine hesitancy in Ghana at an average of 30 per cent with people under 25 years leading the score.
Data from the Ghana Health Service also indicate that 35 per cent of districts out of the 260 had less than 25 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated for COVID-19.
“Among health workers, it is estimated that 40 per cent have not received the second doses of vaccination and less than one per cent have received booster doses.
“We see these developments as worrying, especially concerning health workers. This is because health workers particularly doctors, nurses, and midwives are not only in the frontline of care but remain the most trusted sources of information and access to vaccination,” Dr Serebour stated.
He said it was against that background that the GMA and GRNMA was embarking on the initiative to fight vaccine hesitancy among health workers.
The GMA President said the training exercise would also aid data collection and address the concerns and misunderstanding that existed.
He said the GMA and GRNMA would also work to mobilise health workers to be vaccinated to serve as role models for the greater population.
That, Dr Serebour said, was in line with the mandate of the Ghana Health Service-Health Promotion Division in its quest to scale up COVID-19 vaccination among health workers and the entire citizens.
He called on the government, stakeholders, especially traditional and religious leaders, youth groups and the media to help encourage vaccine acceptance and uptake particularly at the district levels to achieve the target of vaccinating at least 22.9 million eligible Ghanaians to stem the spread of the disease.
Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, the President of GRNMA, urged Ghanaians to go back to the preventive protocols as COVID-19 cases were on the rise again to reduce the infection rate.
Ghana as of June 16, 2022, recorded a total of 1,311 active cases with 14 severe cases and has a death toll of 1,446.