Residents of AAK shun malaria vaccination for fear of COVID-19
For fear of contacting the deadly Coronavirus, residents of Abura-Asebu- Kwamankese (AAK) District have shunned away from vaccinating their wards against various diseases including childhood malaria, Mr. Edmond Banafo Nartey , the District Malaria Focal Person has said.
He indicated that inhabitants of the area completely eschewed their regular visitation to the hospital even for other important health care exercises or activities and that the malaria immunization was no exception.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency as part of the National media malaria campaign under the auspices of the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), he stated that the resurgence of the pandemic worsened the situation.
“Our people still live with the myth and misconception that the virus stays at the facility and so they stand a higher risk when they come in to access health care and these has affected attendance,” he added.
On the way forward, Mr. Nartey said his outfit engaged in intensive public education on how the virus was contracted and its prevention and threw more light on the essence of bringing their wards for the immunization exercise.
“Health centres have been tasked to intensify their outreach programs to reach larger section, this wasn’t an easy task, as we faced difficulties in logistics, the distances alone were enough to discourage our nurses but we had to meet our targeted audience and so we pushed harder,” he
To help solve the issue, nose masks were provided for mothers during clinics just to avoid some mothers borrowing from others to contain the spread of the virus.
“This is a challenge because, generally, we have serious issues with funding. No organization assist financially apart from Government subventions, which are not enough yet we need to keep up so that we don’t lose the numbers,” he said.
Mrs. Mercy Quansah, a nurse in charge of Public Health who also spoke to the GNA, said the facilities had to pull resources together to get to riverine communities for outreach immunization exercises, which in turn yielded positively.
She indicated that when the COVID-19 began to go down, the facility had challenges of getting parents to respond to the static approach of immunization because, they had relaxed and adapted to the outreach immunization approach.
Speaking to some parents, Miss Irene Darkoah, a parent told the GNA that, she never visited the facility when COVID-19 was on the rise because the hospital had some patients suffering from the infection and they could be easily infected.
“Well, I didn’t really think that could affect my child. I knew if the COVID-19 comes down I could make up for the time lost. I only needed to save myself and my child,” she explained.
Another parent Mrs. Ama Aleziwa Eshun said she initially refused immunizing her son during the resurgence of the COVID-19 because she was afraid her son could be infected.
She added: “people said the immunization could make my son stand the risk of being affected and so even when they came to our homes I objected to it”.