TLF engaged Ofankor Community on lead poisoning, yellow fever and Covid-19 to boost vaccines confidence
Inter-faith humanitarian organisation, The Light Foundation (TLF) in partnership with UNICEF has engaged the Ofankor Community within the GA South Municipality on Covid-19 vaccine confidence, Lead Poisoning and Yellow Feaver to erase misconceptions about health safety protocols aimed at complementing national efforts to contain, combat and prevent the spread of infectious diseases including Covid-19.
Nii Clottey Boi II, Chief of Ofankor (left), Imam Adam Issah (middle) & Shikh Ali Abubakar Napari (right) CEO of The Light Foundation interacting during Ofankor Community engagement on Sunday January 30, 2022.
Misconceptions and myths about Covid-19 have been spreading in Africa through social media, fueling mistrust for vaccines meant to protect many against the infectious pandemic. Even some opinion leaders and prominent influencers have been peddling fake news.The battle against infectious Covid-19 pandemic has lingered on for almost two years amid the influx of new variants including Delta, Omicron among others. In Africa, the battle remains a daunting task.
World Health Organization (WHO) had set a year-end target for each African country to fully vaccinate 40% of their population, but that goal has hardly been achieved. A negligible number of seven out of 54 countries on the continent have reached the 40% target, according to the WHO. That translates into about 9% of Africans being fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Many African countries have been unable to vaccinate the majority of their people because of a lack of doses. Even more worrying, though, is the high level of vaccine hesitancy. It is important to anchor the point that, Government of Ghana’s target to vaccinate 20 million Ghanaians in 2021 has not been achieved.
It is against this background that The Light Foundation in collaboration with UNICEF has embarked on sensitization project to intensify education, create awareness to erase misconceptions about the Covid-19 vaccines, whilst urging rural-urban communities to ignore fake news and comply with safety protocols on the infectious disease, lead poisoning and yellow feaver.
Known as Religious Leaders Support for Covid-19 Vaccines Confidence, Lead Poisoning and Yellow Feaver, the project by The Light Foundation together with UNICEF is meant to sensitise the Ofankor Community to improve their response to Covid-19 vaccination.
Apart from that, the community was educated on causes, devastating effects of burning tires, fuels leading to lead poisoning, and how to seek remedy. They were encouraged to ensure cleanliness whilst attending frequent health check-ups and tests to overcome Yellow Feaver, a common disease in Ghana.
According to Health Facilitator at Ghana Health Service who was the resource person at the Ofankor Community engagement Rev. Jacob Agyenkwa, efforts must be made to erase misconceptions and fight fake news about ongoing vaccination in Ghana. According to Rev. Agyenkwa, aside Covid-19 vaccination, lead poisoning reduces intellectual faculties of children, causes stunted growth (Korshiorkor), low sperm count and sight problems.
“Let’s conduct regular health check-ups to improve our health conditions, be it lead poisoning, feaver and Covid-19. Covid-19 is real, ignore fake news, misconceptions and go for your vaccination because very soon, you’ll need the card to transact business in Ghana”, Rev. Jacob Agyenkwa noted.
Speaking at the Ofankor Community engagement on Religious Leaders Support for Covid-19 Vaccines confidence, Lead poisoning and Yellow Feaver sensitization programme on Sunday 30 January, 2022, Chief Executive Officer of The Light Foundation Shikh Ali Abubakar Napari advised the participants and the Ofankor residents to treat lessons from the sensitization programme with seriousness to improve emerging health issues. Let’s fight Covid-19, lead poisoning and Feaver together”.
Sheikh Ali Abubakar Napari noted that “I thank the Ofankor Chief, Imam, Revered Ministers, Ofankor residents, organisers, all and sundry who arrived on time for today’s sensitization programme. May Allah bless all of you”.
Contributing to the discussion, Chief of Ofankor Nii Clottey Boi II advised “residents to strictly adhere to health education and protocols spelt out by resource person from the Ghana Health Service, for their well-being whilst participating in ongoing Covid-19 vaccination to complement government’s efforts to contain, combat and prevent the spread of the pandemic. According to him, community members should cultivate the habits of regular health check-ups to sustain healthy lives.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman for Ofankor South Electoral Area Hon. Dennis Daniel Quashie said the sensitisation project is timely and will help residents of the community to scale-up rapid response to Lead Poisoning, Yellow Feaver, Covid-19 vaccination and emergency preparedness.
For his part, Ofankor South Community Organiser Mr. Blessing Samuel Ayitey congratulated The Light Foundation and UNICEF for undertaking the Religious Leaders Support for Covid-19 Vaccines Confidence, Lead Poisoning and Yellow Feaver Project.
The Light Foundation (TLF), an Interfaith humanitarian organization operates under four key thematic areas; Water sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Child Protection and Support (CSP) Programs, Advocacy and Policy Influencing (API) and Interfaith and Peace Promotion (IPP) programs with 16 years’ experience.
The foundation has effectively collaborated with institutions such as Star Ghana Foundation, UNICEF and World Vision among others. The launch of The Light Foundation and UNICEF’s Covid19, Lead Poisoning and Yellow fever is in tune with the organization’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Program. The Foundation in partnership with C4D unit of UNICEF-Ghana is undertaking a nine – month advocacy and sensitization project on Covid-19 WASH protocols, Vaccine Confidence, Lead Poisoning and Yellow Fever with focus on eleven communities (Kokrobite langma Dampase, Ofankor, Gonse/Joma) Accra East (Frafraha, Amrahia, Ashiyie) Accra Metro (Agbogbloshie/Abossey Okai, Ashaiman and Nungua Zongo) in the Greater Accra Region. The project seeks to collaborate with Religious Leaders, Traditional Authorities, Schools, Youth and Women Group in these communities.
The project will be providing refresher training on how these stakeholders can use their platforms and leverage on influence in their respective communities to combat misinformation on Covid-19, Demand creation for Covid-19 vaccines intake, Environmental Pollution and Yellow Fever outbreak.
The main objective of the project is to improve the effectiveness of communities’ response to Covid-19 associated WASH issues, vaccine confidence and prevention of lead poisoning especially within the urban areas and increase awareness-levels about the risk of lead poisoning for people in Ghana, particularly in the regions of high risk of lead poisoning such as in low-income high-density urban areas in Greater Accra Region.
The objectives and messages centered around the project are:
1. Baseline Data from projects location acquired and community stakeholders engaged on project objective Project inception meeting and stakeholder buy-in
2. Faith Actors, Women and Youth Leaders Duly Exposed to the prevailing covid19 WASH and vaccine confidence and LEAD POISONING trends
3. Enhanced behavioural change (misinformation) on Covid-19 WASH and Lead Poisoning awareness
4. Wide reach of Covid-19 WASH and Lead Poisoning messages through Imams congregations, Radio, TV and print media as well as websites and social media.
5. Sensitize 20 leaders of Scrap dealers on the dangers associated with unapproved or illegal recycling such as burning of discarded electronics and other gadgets.
6. Create and use murals to promote effective community engagement to increase uptake of WASH, MNCH, CP and lead poisoning in projects implementing areas.
Covid-19 cases in Ghana
On 12th March 2020, Ghana confirms two cases of Covid-19 of which both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey respectively. This was made known to the public by the Ministry of Health in a press release. As of April 2020, 2,074 cases were recorded in Ghana with 17 deaths and 0.82% of fatality rate. April 30, 2020 figures show that Ghana was the country with the highest number of confirmed cases within West Africa and Central regions, and third highest across WHO Africa region, following South Africa and Algeria.
In view of that, Government of Ghana quickly set up five key objectives to combat the pandemic. These include the agenda to limit and stop importation of virus, contain its spread, provide adequate care for the sick, limit the impact on social and economic life, inspire the expansion of its domestic capability and deepen its self-reliance.
Source: africaneditors.com /Jerry Akornor
Below are exclusive pictures from the Ofankor Community engagement by The Light Foundation: