To reach the remote communities in Mpeasem and Dogye in Jomoro Municipal in the Western Region of Ghana, health care workers have to cross a river in a canoe, a costly and risky trip. The boats tip easily and their contents, including motorbikes and health commodities such as vaccines, can float away. Usually, this deters health care workers from the trip, leaving people without the care they need.
The USAID Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX) recognized the need to reach and vaccinate these communities. In November 2022, the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum project worked with its subgrantee, the West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF), to vaccinate people in these remote communities.
“Visiting Mpeasem for sensitization and mobilization was very challenging because you have to use a boat or canoe before reaching the community,” said Matilda May Quansah, the WAAF project coordinator.
WAAF health workers set out in their canoes to educate residents on the benefits and availability of the vaccine. “We had to start with house-to-house sensitization and telling them the importance of taking the vaccine,” Matilda added.
They followed up with another visit, this time with the Ghana Health Service COVID-19 vaccination team, which vaccinated eligible people. Visits continued in December 2022, and as of March 2023, the project had vaccinated more than 16,000 people in Jomoro Municipal, which includes the remote areas of Mpeasem and Dogye.
The Care Continuum project and the Ghana Health Service through Global VAX continue to support the regional health directorates of Ahafo, Western, and Western North to dispel myths and misconceptions and get people vaccinated.
Photos: WAAF and Richard Adupong/JSI.