Health Promotion Officers in the Ashanti Region have been tasked to step up education on the safety of health facilities to improve access to healthcare following the COVID-19 pandemic.
They should build the confidence of communities in the facilities as the best places to receive proper care without compromising their safety in the midst of the pandemic.
Madam Charity Nikoi, a Communication Specialist with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who made the call, said people should not be reluctant in seeking medical attention in health facilities for fear of contracting COVID-19.
She was addressing the participants of a three-day training for Health Promotion Officers and representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in health in Kumasi.
The training which was put together by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) with support from UNICEF and its partners focused on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) communication during emergencies.
It sought to build the capacities of participants to understand the critical role of social and community mobilization to social and behaviour change and to know how to plan and execute community mobilization to support the implementation of a MNCHN.
Madam Nikoi said it was imperative for patients, especially pregnant women and nursing mothers to attend antenatal and child welfare clinics and that the Health Promotion Officers had key roles to play.
“When COVID came we realised that our immunization and antenatal services went down so we want to build the resilience of communities to believe and to know that even in the face of pandemics, they should still have confidence and access our facilities,” she observed.
Madam Bridget Anim, the Deputy Director, Health Promotion Division of GHS, reminded the participants that other diseases were in the country and that their risk communications must not only focus on COVID-19.
She said though Ghana and the rest of the world were dealing with the pandemic, health promoters must not renege on their duties to promote MNCHN which was equally important in the health delivery system.
Dr. Michael Rockson Adjei, the Deputy Regional Director of Health Services in Charge of Public Health who spoke on common myths and facts on COVID-19 urged the participants to correct the erroneous impression created about vaccines by conspiracy theorists.
He said COVID-19 vaccines were developed to fight disease and not administered to track the movement of people as claimed by faceless people that they contained microchips.
He also refuted claims that those who received the vaccines became magnetic, saying that all COVID-19 vaccines were free from metals and urged the health promoters to step up their game to dispel such rumours.