YOUNG AND LONELY FOUNDATION (YLF): REPORT ON GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR VACCINES AND IMMUNISATION (GAVI HSS) PROJECT IN THE GOMOA EAST DISTRICT, CENTRAL REGION- FUNDED BY GAVI (The Vaccines Alliance)
A meeting with the chief and his elders
Child immunization and vaccination health education is one of the surest ways of eradicating child mortality in our communities and the country at large. Over the years, various social interventions and education were carried out by Young and Lonely Foundation (YLF) and Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCHN) to sensitize people on immunization. This among other things led to the coverage of sixty eight percent even though it is below the national target of ninety percent ( Ghana health service report, 2014 Gomoa East). The nature of the problem demands that more collaborative efforts are brought to the fore so that a lasting solution can be provided to child mortality underpinned by lack of immunization. The advent of the GAVI HISS project could not have come at a better time than this as it will help create more awareness on immunization hence the need for parents and stakeholders to treat immunization with all seriousness.
GAVI HSS Project seeks to create demand for immunization in selected districts and communities across the country. In the Gomoa East District, GAVI HSS Project has been implemented in ten (10) communities by three NGOs namely: Young and Lonely Foundation (YLF), ICARE and HERO-Network. YLF has implemented the project in two communities in the District namely Pomadzi and Asebu. The implementation of the project in these two communities in the Gomoa East District will be the focus of this report.
OPENING DIALOGUE WITH STAKEHOLDLERS
As part of the pre-implementing activities, the staff of HERO Network and other two supporting NGOs –Young and Lonely Foundation and ICARE who are the implementers for the GAVI HSS Project in the Gomoa East District organized a meeting with the District Health Management Team (DHMT) and the District Assembly on 18th March, 2015. The meeting was attended by the district director of health, disease control officer, executive directors of implementing NGOs with supporting staff, District Coordinating Director and other supporting staff of DHMT and the District Assembly.
The purposes of the meeting were to introducing the Project to the stakeholders and seek their support. At the meeting, the DHMT and the district assembly applauded the NGOs for the initiative and have promised their total support for effective and successful implementation of the project.
The meeting also created the platform where the NGOs, DHMT, and the District Assembly discussed strategies for the effective implementation of the project in the communities. Before the meeting came to a close, ten (10) communities in the District where immunization education was low were selected for the project. Finally, the stakeholders discussed some health challenges such as lack of health facilities, lack of commitment on the part of community volunteers malaria, cholera………. And possible solutions to nip the health challenges in the bud were suggested.
INTRODUCTION OF THE PROJECT IN THE COMMUNITIES
On 17th and 18th March, 2015, Young and Lonely Foundation (YLF) introduced the GAVI HSS Project in the Gomoa Pomadze and Gomoa
Asebu communities. The first point of contact was the chiefs, elders and opinion leaders of the communities. This was done in collaboration with health personnel in the District.
After the introduction of the project, the chief, opinion, leaders pledged their unflinching support towards the project. They also urged the organization to adequately motivate volunteers and health personnel so that they can be well energized to carry out a regular education and interaction with community members The executive director of YLF assured the community leaders that the organization will motivate health workers and volunteers alike to perform their duties well.
Having successfully introduced the project to the communities through the community leadership, the organization proceeded to select Community Based Health Volunteers (CBHV) for the GAVI HSS project.
Volunteers and Community Health Nurses Training on GAVI HSS Project
In order to build the capacities and deepen the understanding of the key players in the GAVI HSS Project in the Gomoa East District, a one day workshop was organized to train volunteers and community health nurses .The training was organized by HERO-Network which is the focal NGO of the GAVI HSS Project in the Gomoa East District. The workshop came off on 25th March, 2015 at Hatampa Hotel, Aborso, Agona Swedru
YLF Executive Director having interaction with nursing mother and pregnant women
The training brought together stakeholders in the GAVI HSS Project including the District Director for Health Services to discuss important health concerns in the district. Among issues discussed are importance of child immunization, immunization schedule, role of volunteers in health delivery, how to complete M&E tools and challenges in child immunization services.
The district health director in his speech advised the volunteers and the nurses to see their work as a calling to support their communities and the nation as whole. The training was facilitated by the district disease control officer, and supported by executive director of HERO-Network who doubles as the GAVI HSS Project coordinator and a senior nurse from Buduata Health Centre.
After the presentations time was allowed for questions, suggestions, contributions and answers. The occasion was also used to correct certain misconceptions people have on child immunization. For example people believe that when a child has a boil should not be immunized, secondly, the children are stubborn because of the immunization, when they are taking herbal medicine
The training was attended by the district health director, executive’s directors of all implementing NGOs, disease control officer and his deputy, all other supporting staff from GHS,HERO-Network, community health nurses and volunteers. All participants pledged to fully offer their support so that the project can be implemented successfully.
The following are the outcomes of the workshop:
- Eighteen (18) community based health volunteers trained on the GAVI HSS Project
- Twelve(12) community health nurses and other health staff trained on the GAVI HSS Project
- Challenges in child immunization services delivery discussed
Follow Up Visits to Assess Community Response
follow up exercise
The outcomes of the follow up can be seen below:
- Community response to the project assessed by project staff effectively.
- Community Health Based Volunteers (CHBV) given technical support in their communities to carry out their duties very well.