On 31 December 2019, the local authorities of Wuhan (China), reported a cluster of pneumonia cases which turned out to be caused by a novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). By March 2020 the virus has already spread in over 80 countries outside China. On 30 January 2020 the WHO declared the recent COVID-19 outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
As of 14:00 hours on the 28th March 2020, a total of 2,519 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in Ghana. Among the tested, 1,276 (50.7%) were persons under mandatory quarantine with 1,243 (49.3%) from routine surveillance activities. Among all 2,519 persons tested, one hundred and forty-one (141) tested positive representing 5.6%.
Among persons under mandatory quarantine, 79 representing 6.2% tested positive. Among samples tested from routine surveillance, sixty-two (62) representing 5.0% tested positive.
Only three regions have so far reported cases- the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Upper West Regions from routine disease surveillance. One case has been confirmed in the Upper West Region. The Ashanti Region has recorded 7 of the 8 cases recorded outside the Greater Accra Region. All other 54 cases from routine surveillance were recorded in the Greater Accra Region and Central Region.
A total of 731 contacts of confirmed cases are currently being followed up by the contact tracing team. Among contacts, 53 were found to have symptoms and 48 have been tested with one person testing positive. 231 contacts have completed the mandatory 14-day follow-up.
Through focus group discussions by RAHE GHANA Team with women groups and community based organisations in remote and deprived areas of Kasoa, Akweley , Nyanyano, Ofaakor and Bortianor , we found out that over 80 percent of the people are vulnerable to the pandemic due to the following,
- lack of information and awareness on COVID 19
- Lack of information on prevention
- Lack of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) including hand sanitizers
- Social stereotypes, fear and beliefs including the idea that COVID 19 is a curse
It is against this background that the government of Ghana has rolled out enhanced measures including a partial lockdown in three major geographical areas including the Awutu Senya East Municipal which is identified as a Hotspot for COVI9 infections. Even in this condition, there is ample evidence that indicate inadequate flow of essential materials like food and services from Governement and stakeholders to the poor within the partial lockdown period.
The Project Proposal
To contain the crisis, RAHE GHANA proposes this project as a Public health response and social countermeasures against the spread of Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19) in deprived and remote communities of Awutu Senya East Municipal in the Central Region of Ghana.
Project objectives/components include the following,
- To support the current healthcare system’s response to infection prevention and control, as well as best practice to protect patients and community health care workers in remote areas
- To build community understanding on the social dynamics of transmission and vulnerability
- To strengthen risk communication, social dynamics and public health response through community centred models, traditional and social media.
- To co create and develop strategies necessary for combating misinformation, stigma, and fear in vulnerable communities
- To provide Personal Protective Equipment for vulnerable groups and communities
- To examine cultural dimensions of the epidemic, namely, how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease with special focus on the most marginalised groups.
RAHE GHANA LEADS COMMUNITY EDUCATION ON COVID 19 IN AWUTU SENYA EAST MUNICIPAL.
A team of Public Health Experts from Reproductive Advocate Health Education (RAHE)-GHANA, a Non -Governmental Organisation has cautioned the Ghanaian public to observe the strict hygiene Protocols as preventive measures to contain the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19). The call was made at a local radio station as part of RAHE GHANA’s sensitisation programs to educate communities, women, adolescent girls, children and the general citizenry in Kasoa and its environs on the global pandemic COVID 19.
According to Paul Teiko Tagoe, the Programs Coordinator of RAHE-GHANA, COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a virus which primarily spreads through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneezes. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or an object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
He further gave update on the pandemic, where Ghana has 68 Confirmed cases, 0 Recovery and 2 Death Cases as of March 25, 2020. Whiles commending the government for rolling out migratory measures to contain the spread of Corona Virus Disease, he implored the government to do more.
Adding her voice to the radio discussion the Youth Coordinator, Ms. Mary Akosua Gyambrah lauded the government for closing down educational institutions across the country and communicated simple measures that can be adapted by adolescents and general citizenry to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. These measures include appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), proper hand washing, coughing into the elbow, keeping safe distance from people as well as avoidance of face touching.
The Executive Director of RAHE GHANA, Mr. Rimmy Francis Amakye advised the general public against spreading rumours and false information about COVID 19 that are likely to cause fear and panic. He urged the public to seriously consider the precautionary measures outlined and apply them at all critical times. He hinted that RAHE GHANA will deepen its advocacy drive and supply PPEs against the spread of the virus. Mr. Amakye further called on organisations, corporate bodies and individuals to aid RAHE GHANA’s effort including funding for the timely provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and public education in communities across Ghana.
Source. Ghana News Agency/ Spectator Newspaper Ghana
Strengthening the capacity of schools in managing menstrual hygiene in Ghana.
Nonetheless the subject of menstruation is too often considered a taboo in many rural communities of Ghana with its attendant negative cultural attitudes, including the idea that menstruating women and girls are ‘contaminated’, ‘dirty’ and ‘impure’. Women and girls in rural setting and in particular girls in schools suffer most from stigma and lack of services and facilities to help them cope with the physical and psychological pains they undergo during their menstrual periods; inadequate preparations for the young girls not yet experiencing menstrual hygiene, lack of or inadequate water to clean and wash the body, lack of materials managing menstrual hygiene, private space and wash rooms and inappropriate facilities for disposal of materials for those who have used pads. In spite of these issues, menstrual hygiene has been relatively ignored by professionals in the water, health and education sectors.
To overcome these bottlenecks, Reproductive Advocate Health Education (RAHE)-Ghana is committed to mobilizing resources at the community level, international organisations and prospective stakeholders to carry out the Menstrual Hygiene Management Project.
The ultimate goal of this gender sensitive project is to strengthen the capacity of public schools and girls especially those in rural and deprived communities in managing menstruation in dignity and safe environment.
The Project objectives include the following,
- To strengthen Girls menstrual hygiene management by the school management committee
- To increase the capacity of selected public schools to effectively manage and sustain menstrual hygiene and sanitation practices;
- To increase awareness on proper hygiene and sanitation practices among adolescent girls, pupils and community members.
- To equip adolescent girls with menstrual facilities and materials needed to overcome the challenges of menstruation and to fully participate in school and community life.
In order to realize these objectives, the Board of RAHE GHANA proposes to facilitate training sessions for girls and senior women teachers, support participating schools to set up separate rest rooms for girls in menstrual period, support school management in piloting the local production of sanitary pads and menstrual management in schools, and to carry out community sensitization and awareness program on menstrual hygiene.
We therefore call on all stakeholders and international donors to rally behind to make this project a successful one.
RAHE-Ghana addresses these challenges under its flagship project known as the Menstrual Hygiene Project. Through integrated and sustainable interventions of the project, RAHE GHANA mobilizes resources and relevant stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of schools, adolescent girls and deprived communities across Ghana in managing menstrual hygiene.
The project selects 100 adolescent girls as target beneficiaries from Primary 5 to JHS 2 for mentoring and education on menstrual hygiene management in each school selected to participate in the project.
The Menstrual Hygiene Project specifically provides education and awareness creation on menstrual hygiene, provides and improves access to sanitary materials through pilot training in sewing reusable sanitary pads, establishes welfare counselling centre in schools to help girls who menstruate during school sessions and community workshops aimed at generating communal ownership and support for the project beyond completion stage.
As part of our commitments towards the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 3,4,5,6 RAHE Ghana is devoted to ensure that, about 1000 schools are earmarked to benefit from the Menstrual Hygiene Project by 2025.
Thus every year we will be working with 143 schools to help shape the lives of over 14,000 adolescent girls in deprived communities.
Thanks to the generosity and care of the FRANCE EMBASSY in Ghana, Nederlands Albert Schweitzer Funds based in Holland , LDS CHARITIES , and the Global Health Strategies, 25 schools have so far being covered by the Menstrual Hygiene Project.
The Menstrual Hygiene Project is a good entry point to improve menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and to initiate discussions on broader issues related to menstruation.
RAHE GHANA seeks to mobilize resources at the community level as well as from international organisations and prospective stakeholders to carry out programs under the Menstrual Hygiene Management Project.
We therefore call on all stakeholders and international donors to rally behind to make this project a successful one.
We are interested in partnering with local and international organisations in order to form a strong alliance to build an inclusive world, where no one is left behind.
Facilitate education and training sessions on menstrual hygiene management among adolescent girls
Support and train adolescent girls to locally make reusable sanitary pads
Set up changing and counselling rooms in all the project schools to support for girls who menstruate during school sessions.
Conduct community advocacy and sensitization workshops on menstrual hygiene management
Community advocacy workshops are used as means of challenging social stereotypes and stigma around menstruation. They are also deployed to canvass support for project sustainability
There is no gainsaying in the fact that, the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will make our world in which we live a better place for everyone. While the SDGs are global, achieving them will depend on the ability of national and local actors to make them a reality in our communities and cities. Although all the goals have targets directly related to the responsibilities of national and local actors especially in delivering basic services, the community as a unit and its members also have their part to play in fulfilling the SDGs in their respective geographical areas.
Direct engagement of communities, schools and young people in working to meet the targets as outlined in the global goals to a large extent depends on their level of knowledge on the SDGs; how they are included in planning and integration of these goals in the community's development agenda; and the means of achieving them.
However, through our community outreach and educational programs in villages ,peri-urban areas, and schools in the Central Region over the years, RAHE-GHANA have come to a realization that information and knowledge about the SDGs and its implications on people’s livelihood and development is either limited or deficient among members of communities, youth groups and even students. From our observation, Interestingly, almost all of these communities and youth groups are passionate about growth and development as some have already mobilized themselves to champion developmental initiatives.
For instance, the Ofaakor TV3 welfare association and Precious Love Women’s group are some of the community based associations in Ofaakor (in the Awutu Senya East District of Central region) which are constantly engaging with governmental stakeholders in order to access portable water and drainage system in their respective communities.
As underscored in the synthesis report of the UN Secretary General, many of the investments to achieve the SDGs will take place at the sub national level and be led by local authorities and communities. As an institution dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people and underserved communities, RAHE GHANA deems it imperative that such efforts at the local level be framed around the SDGs in order to speed up the Ghana’s progress towards the 2030 agenda.
It is within this context that RAHE GHANA has decided to embark on action campaign program to harness the potentials of underserved communities, schools and the youth groups for the sdgs in Ghana. Under the theme, ‘Mobilizing communities, Connecting people and Inspiring change, Action now’, the campaign presents a fresh opportunity for RAHE- GHANA to inform, educate, raise awareness among and engage citizens for achieving the SDGs at the grass root level.
As operational strategy, we have initially targeted 25 schools (8 Junior High Schools and 17, Senior High Schools), 11 vulnerable communities and 12 youth groups in the Central Region for this action campaign program.
The program has three major components namely, education, services, and advocacy.
Students of Potential Skills Academy demonstrate their support for the SDGs. The school management committee resolved to plant trees as a way of combating climate change.
Advocacy Workshop on GOAL 3. with Health stakeholders of Awutu Senya East Municipal
Strategic meeting with Educators
Awareness is key to Achieving the SDGs
Empirical studies indicate that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.
RAHE GHANA firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to overcoming poverty and gender based violence. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and girls to build their capacity.
By pursuing Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) in Ghana we foster an environment that empowers women to take up strategic positions in society and decision-making bodies as well as empowering them as advocates for gender-based and development issues within their own communities.
Our series of WEP Programs work towards these goals by building the capacity of selected rural women, community animators and stakeholders in Vocational Skills, Human and Children’s Rights, the Domestic Violence Act, the Intestate Succession Law, Wills Act, the Marriage Law, Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Family Planning, Leadership and Credit Management to empower them to provide services to their communities and achieve economic self-reliance.
Our programs, not only have many women become more confident in their abilities to create positive change, but more and more men are discerning women’s capabilities and necessary role in the development of their communities. As an upshot, Parents are realizing the need to free the girl child of loaded household chores, which often become barriers to their educational and economic development, and are now splitting chores evenly between girl and boy children.
Structural Foundations of Our Women Empowerment Programs
While adapted to meet local challenges and opportunities wherever we work, all our programs are anchored on 3 major pillars:
- Start by empowering women as key agents of change
- Mobilizing rural and deprived communities into self-sufficient action
- Fostering effective local partnerships and engagements for women’s advancement
During the 16 Days of Activism Campaign ,RAHE GHANA highlighted the structural challenges faced by women in society and empowered them to SPEAK UP!
Capacity Building workshop for Women on achieving Universal Health Care (UHC) through Innovative Health Financing models at the District level
If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.
We believe in a world where every woman, and the girl child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity.