The German Agency for International Development Cooperation (GIZ) is partnering the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to improve COVID-19 vaccination uptake in the country.
As part of the collaboration, the agency is supporting the GHS with over €2 million for the exercise.
The GHS-GIZ national COVID-19 risk communication and vaccination sensitisation campaign initiative was launched in Accra yesterday.
The project covers sensitisation and public education, training, call centre activities, medical waste management, research and E-health.
Other implementing partners are the Clinton Health Access Initiative, World Vision and the African-German Health Association.
The GIZ sponsorship package is part of its support to Ghana’s local vaccine manufacturing agenda.
The Director of the Health Promotion Division of the GHS, Dr Dacosta Aboagye, who launched the campaign on behalf of the Director-General of the service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said in spite of the effort by stakeholders towards the vaccination drive, only 25 per cent of the targeted eligible population of 20 million had been fully vaccinated.
“It means we still have some work to do. Risk communication and communication interventions are the surest ways to scale-up vaccine uptake, among other public health interventions.
“We initially set for ourselves a target of vaccinating 20 million eligible population. So far, we have given out about 18.6 million doses, with 25 per cent of the target being fully vaccinated,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said over the years, vaccines and immunisation had been an integral part of the service in curbing various ailments.
He described the partnership as a step in the right direction, saying an all-hands-on-deck effort was needed to get eligible people vaccinated.
A partnership note issued by the GIZ at the event said the national campaign was to increase vaccine uptake and also improve conditions for the effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the history of public health, vaccination has been the number one success story in controlling pandemics. Nonetheless, many people, based on different beliefs and misinformation, have decided not to be vaccinated in Ghana.
“If this goes unaddressed, the unvaccinated population will pose a great danger to the country,” it added.
It said while community mobilisation and sensitisation was vital in reaching out to people, effective risk communication was critical in managing the damaging impact of vaccine misinformation.
According to the statement, the funding for the project was under a programme dubbed: ‘The German Last Mile’, which aims at rapidly increasing global COVID-19 vaccine coverage and uptake.
The initiative offers technical and financial support to low-income countries.
“In 2022, Germany provided more than €1.3 billion to fight the COVID-19. Two-thirds of this sum will contribute to the Last Mile Initiative, from which funds will go to multilateral agencies it is collaborating with,” it said.