- On April 3, 2020
Listen To The Story
By Harriet Nuamah-Agyemang, Senior Programme Officer, SEND GHANA
The advent of the coronavirus-COVID-19 some three months ago has undoubtedly changed the social order of our society. The President’s broadcast for partial lockdown of social activities and gatherings which are part and parcel of the Ghanaian culture such as funerals, weddings, naming ceremonies, parties and hug outs have all been affected. Education and religious activities have also impacted. The citizenry is practicing social distancing as advised by the president and health professionals. The entire country is beginning to feel to a large extent not only the social, but also, economic impact of COVID-19.
In the mist of this, Health services, which is essential is provided everyday so that citizens can have access to healthcare. The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has mentioned that people-especially those who are not sick should as much as possible stay away from health facilities. The question that keep bordering my mind is, how is social distancing impacting child welfare clinics? And what measures have been initiated by the GHS to ensure that children do not miss their vaccination schedules? Child welfare clinics are held on selected days in most health facilities or outreach points. Therefore, days for these clinics are often crowded, especially in the urban areas with mothers and children mostly from age 0-2 years coming for their scheduled vaccination.
As part of measures to curb the spread of the virus, gatherings are supposed to have less than 25 people at a time even then with great caution. In this respect, how can mothers present their children for vaccination since a child welfare centre could have more than 25 people at a time. Are health staff rescheduling clinic days so that few children seen a day? How about remote and deprived areas where health staff visit once a week or fortnightly to immunize children from catchment areas of the outreach point? Immunization schedules are crucial for the health of children and may not be advisable to be missed. In view of this, SEND GHANA through its immunization advocacy initiative is asking the GHS to;
- Outline measures put in place to make child welfare clinics safer while observing social distancing.
- Collaborate with CSOs and the media to educate the public on the measures for adherence by parents
While we sympathize with government on the efforts to find resources for the management of COVID-19, we also call on them to stay committed to their immunization sustainable plan with GAVI to ensure constant supply of vaccines and other logistics for health professional to work. As we fight COVID-19 because we need every Ghanaian alive, we must make sure that all children continue to be vaccinated to boost their immune system against vaccine prevented diseases.
We need every child alive.