The World Health Organisation (WHO) African Office says mass immunisation campaigns and many key health services suffered in Ghana as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement by the WHO says that health authorities in the west African country are reviving and reinforcing essential services to not only better withstand disruption in case of a new COVID-19 wave but also improve quality.

Thousands of vaccinators fanned through villages and towns across 73 districts immunising more than 4.6 million children against vaccine-derived poliovirus.

Polio vaccinations had been scheduled for April and May, but were shelved in the face of rising COVID-19 cases that overstretched the health system, prompted movement restrictions as well as a ban on mass gatherings.

To safely resume the mass immunisation drive, vaccinators were trained on COVID-19 prevention, provided with personal protective equipment and hand sanitizers.

COVID-19

Measures to limit COVID-19 transmission are also being implemented in hospitals and health centres as key services are bolstered. In health facilities, pre-triaging spaces have been set up to screen patients before being allowed to seek consultation in a bid to mitigate risks of exposing the patients and health workers to the virus.

Investments have also been made to improve health worker knowledge and skills, and to bolster the health infrastructure. The supply of essential medical materials, including through local manufacturing, is also being enhanced.

The Deputy Director General at Ghana Health Service in charge of essential health services, Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu says that in addition to the investments, the lessons learnt during the polio vaccination campaign and the measures being taken to minimize COVID-19 infections as people seek treatment are strengthening the provision of essential services amid the pandemic.

Ofosu says, “We have learnt a lot in this period on how to provide these services while protecting both our health workers and the public from COVID-19 infection. We have been quite successful in reviving our essential services.”

Below is the full statement: