COVID-19: Vaccines alone will not end pandemic, warns IFRC

Mabaruma, Guyana: Melissa Lewis talks about staying safe and healthy during COVID-19, while the Guyana Red Cross team delivers hygiene kits to communities living along the rivers. These communities are impacted by COVID-19, and it is difficult to access cleaning and hygiene items because of distances and lockdown measures.

With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out across many countries, the world’s largest humanitarian network is once again warning that vaccines alone will not end the pandemic. People need to remain vigilant and continue to adhere to basic preventative measures that include physical distancing, wearing masks and handwashing.

Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:

The humbling reality is this pandemic is only gaining momentum, a stark reminder that vaccines alone will not end this fight. We all need to make sure that, in our optimism about vaccines, we do not forget the dangers of this virus or the actions we all need to take to protect ourselves and each other.

“COVID-19 is still killing thousands of people every single day. We each have a responsibility to stay vigilant and to practice the preventative measures that will curb the spread.

All people, even those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, must continue to physically distance, stay home as much as possible, wear a mask to protect themselves and their communities and thoroughly wash their hands. Patience is key, and commitment is essential. The ability to keep each other safe and healthy is literally in our hands.”

A second variant, 501Y.V2, which was recently discovered in South Africa, has been detected in at least six additional countries, and comes at a time when the African continent is in the grips of its worst-ever COVID-19 period. Over the past four weeks, Africa has experienced a continuous increase in new cases and deaths.

The IFRC is also bracing for a further surge in cases following the holiday period, which saw millions of people around the world travel and gather with relatives and friends. A proven, consistent driver of the pandemic has been the gathering of people indoors from different households without face coverings or masks. The IFRC warns that countries should be prepared to see a possible increase in infections soon.

Emanuele Capobianco, IFRC’s Director of Health, said:

We are very concerned about this convergence of a potential false sense of security due to the rollout of vaccines, the emergence of new variants, and the impact of holiday-season travel. Our first line of defence against the virus remains our individual behaviour. Beyond this, the ability of Governments to take swift actions based on scientific evidence is also key to slowing down the pandemic.

Vaccines will help, but unless we all remain vigilant, and unless their deployment is accelerated across the world in a fair and equitable manner, the entire world remains at risk.”

Source:www.ifrc.org

Update on COVID -19 and the Necessary Measures to take.

COVID-19 Case Count per Region

S/N Region Case Count
1 Greater Accra Region 25,265
2 Ashanti Region 11,076
3 Western Region 3,025
4 Eastern Region 2,503
5 Central Region 1,940
6 Bono East Region 787
7 Volta Region 685
8 Western North Region 659
9 Bono Region 619
10 Northern Region 551
11 Ahafo Region 528
12 Upper East Region 359
13 Oti Region 243
14 Upper West Region 90
15 Savannah Region 62
16 North East Region 19

 

The Ministry of Health has through the Ghana Health Service issued a directive urging all Citizens to wear a Nose mask in all Public places where it is difficult to maintain Social Distancing.

The general public is encouraged to wear a mask covering when going out whether sick or not or attending to a sick person. The incorrect use of the face mask carries a high risk of infection. To avoid the contamination, infection or transmission of the virus, the following instructions are provided;

Procedures of wearing and removing a mask

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer before putting on a mask
  • Ensure that your mask fully covers your mouth and nose with no gaps between your face and mask
  • Avoid touching the mask after you have won it
  • Remove a mask by passing a finger through the loop of the mask behind one ear and lift off without touching the front of the mask- Never Touch The Front Of The Mask

Nestlé, Red Cross donate equipment and supplies to GHS to help support management of coronavirus cases

In the wake of COVID-19, Nestlé and the Ghana Red Cross Society partnered to support the fight against the pandemic.

Through the partnership, food and beverages were distributed to 50,000 families, non-functioning water points in selected markets are being rehabilitated, hand washing stations are provided at vantage locations to facilitate correct and frequent hand washing among others.

As part of the support, Medical and Personal Protective Equipment including 1 Anesthetic Machine, 1 Slit Lamp, 10 Infrared thermometers, 10 Digital BP testing apparatuses, 1 set of mobile ECG 6 channel, 1 set of mobile ECG 12 channel, patient monitor and 100 disposable gowns totaling GHS323,697 have been donated to the Tema General Hospital.

Dr. Anthony Ofosu, Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service received the items on behalf of the Hospital to aid the management of COVID-19. In his remark, Dr. Ofosu thanked Nestlé Ghana and the Red Cross for their kind gesture.


“These equipment have come in at the right time and the use will go beyond COVID-19 and support the provision of other health services. We look forward to more collaboration to continue engaging and educating communities to continue keeping safe”.

According to Deborah Kwablah, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager at Nestlé Ghana, ensuring the health and wellbeing of individuals and families is important for the development of the nation.

“As the Good Food, Good Life company, Nestlé continues to play a significant role in providing accessible and affordable nutritious food and beverages while living our purpose of ‘unlocking the power of food to enhance the quality of life for everyone today, and for generations to come’.

I thank the Ghana Red Cross Society for their commitment to the partnership to touch lives. Our expectation is that these items will be put to good use to benefit those who seek health care’’.


Mr. Kwame Gyima-Akwafo, President of Red Cross thanked Nestlé Ghana for the cash donation for the equipment. As an auxiliary to Government, the Ghana Red Cross Society will continue to complement efforts in social mobilization, risk communication, and community engagement activities to help manage COVID-19 in Ghana.

Dr. Richard Anthony, Medical Director at Tema General Hospital receiving the equipment shared the hospital’s gratitude to Nestlé Ghana and Red Cross for the donation.

He highlighted that the equipment will go beyond the management of COVID-19 and will add to the resources of the hospital. He assured their commitment to take care of the equipment and use them for their purpose accordingly.

Ghana Health Service takes delivery of tricycle ambulances in Upper East

The Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service has taken delivery of twenty-two tricycle ambulances and 73 Haemocue (blood testing) machines for distribution to six deprived districts in the Region.

The beneficiary districts are Bongo, Binduri, Nabdam, Kassena Nankana Municipality, Pusiga and Talensi.

The facilities were provided by the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) with support from the Swiss Red Cross(SRC) at an estimated cost of  GH¢ 1 million. The package includes the provision of communication gadgets and training for the riders of the Tricycles, midwives and other health staff in the beneficiary health facilities who would be using the Haemocue machines.

It was provided under the Maternal, New-Born and Child Health Project (MNCH) being implemented in the six beneficiary districts. The tricycle ambulances would enable pregnant mothers and new born babies suffering from emergency health cases and referred to bigger health facilities to be conveyed to those health centres in a timely manner to prevent deaths and complications. On the other hand,the Haemocue machines would help improve on Haemoglobin (Oxygen carrying capacity of blood) testing of pregnant mothers suspected to be anaemic in health centres in the six beneficiary districts.

Addressing the handing over ceremony at Bolgatanga on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Swiss Red Cross Country Coordinator, Mr Thomas Okollah observed that since 2014, the organization had supported the MNCH project in the Upper East Region with the GRCS as the implementing agency.

He explained that the project was designed to use community volunteers organized into Ghana Red Cross Mothers’ Clubs which had complemented government’s efforts in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in the beneficiary districts.

“It came to light during the initial stage of the project that pregnant women, post-natal mothers and newborns who needed acute health services were challenged by inability to easily access health facilities due to lack of reliable means of transport” Mr Okollah stated.

He further observed that this limited access to health facilities contributed to “unpredictable pregnancy outcomes and negatively impacted maternal and child health”.

The Country Coordinator indicated that “as a need responsive organisation, Red cross procured one tricycle in 2016 as a pilot project to increase access to health facilities in a community in the Binduri district which proved successful”.

He said increased requests from the GHS at the district level and the Mothers’ Club members made the GRCS and SRC to procure additional ten tricycles in 2017 and donated them to 10 Community Health-based Planning Services (CHPS) compounds in the beneficiary districts to support the referral of pregnant mothers and children to health facilities.

Mr Okollah said further appeals from members of the Mothers’ club and the GHS for more tricycles in the beneficiary districts led to this latest intervention.

 Anaemia

The Regional Director of the GHS, Dr Winfred Ofosu acknowledged the “critical role of tricycle ambulances in community transport system especially in transporting pregnant women and newborns as well as patients with emergency health conditions from communities with lower-level facilities to higher-level health facilities for urgent medical attention”.

Dr Ofosu pointed out that Anaemia which referred to low red blood cells capacity was an important health condition in pregnancy as it could adversely affect healthy development of the unborn baby and the mother as well as cause deaths in some cases.

“The Haemocue machines would facilitate regular testing of Haemoglobin level for pregnant women and other patients to detect anaemia and avert preventable deaths,” the director noted.

Mortality

Dr Ofosu disclosed that since 2017, the proportion of pregnant women making at least four Antenatal care visits before delivery increased from 82.3 percent in 2017 to 83.5 percent in 2019 with a decline to 79.1 percent in 2018.

As expected,institutional Maternal Mortality ratio had declined over the last three years from 137.5 per 100,000 live births in 2017 to 82 per 100,000 live births in 2019.

Institutional neonatal deaths have remained stagnant but declined from 7.7 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 6.3 per1,000 live births in 2018. It, however, rose to 8.7 per 1,000 live births in 2019.

Mothers Clubs

The President of the GRCS, Mr Kwame Gyimah Akwafo announced that there were 2,080 members of the Mothers’ Clubs in the beneficiary districts working with the organization to achieve goals of the MNCH project.

The project is also working with 80 Mothers’ clubs in 80 communities in the beneficiary districts.

The Clubs he noted had served as an important link between the beneficiary districts and health facilities on maternal and child health issues. They have also assisted in promoting mother and child health-related messages, identified danger signs in pregnant women, post-natal mothers and newborns as well as facilitated their referral to higher-level health facilities for effective medical attention.

Appreciation

The Upper East Regional Minister, Miss Tangoba Abayage in a speech read on her behalf, expressed gratitude to the GRCS and the SRC for playing a key role in reducing maternal and child mortality in the beneficiary districts.

 

Ghana Red Cross Society donates PPEs to GHS

The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS)yesterday donated personal protective equipment to the Ghana Health Service to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The items included gloves, surgical masks, protective gowns, single-use disposable, non-woven material, resistance to fluid, glasses: Clear rigid plastic, eyes front+ sides protection worth CHF23, 397.00.

Presenting the items, in Accra yesterday, the President of GRCS, Mr Kwame Gyimah-Akwafo said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent solicited support to assist the various national societies to help combat the spread of the deadly pandemic.

The Director-General of Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, receiving the items thanked the GRCS for the gesture and promised to use the items for its intended purpose.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the fight against the pandemic needed inclusive support and urged Ghanaians to continue observing the safety etiquettes.

GRCS commissions 102 housing units for flood victims

The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross has commissioned 102 units of two-bedroom houses constructed for victims of the October 2019 flood in six communities across the Builsa North District and Kassena Nankana Municipality.

The communities include; Mayoro benefitting 33, Nantuna 17, Chuchuliga 26, Kasa eight, Silinsi 11 and Bilinsa, seven houses.

In a durbar organized to officially handover the buildings to the beneficiaries, Lawyer Kwame Gyima Akwafo, the National President of GRCS, said the Red Cross undertook the project following its visit to the areas after the 2019 flood rendered vulnerable victims homeless.

He said the housing project dubbed ‘build back better’ did not only seek to provide replacement houses for flood victims but to also build houses that were permanent and could withstand persistent rainfall.

He said logistics provided by the Red Cross for the construction of each house included; 350 pieces of sandcrete blocks, 15 bags of cement, sand, stones, bitumen, roofing materials, and some cash to pay for the services of artisans.

“For the purposes of sustainability and sense of pride, beneficiaries also had a role to play in building better houses for themselves.”

“Beyond the building structures, we have provided beneficiaries with tree seedlings to plant around the houses to serve as a windbreak,” he added.

Lawyer Akwafo commended the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the Department of Rural Housing for their collaborative efforts in ensuring a successful completion of the project.

Madam Tangoba Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister and Parliamentary Candidate for Navrongo Central constituency, bemoaned the negative effects the perennial floods had on the region.

She called on residents to prepare for rains during the harmattan season by patching and plastering their homes to increase their resilience and urged beneficiaries to maintain the houses properly to serve as a motivation for replication of the project in other parts of the region.

Pe Dr. Pwakeah Atupaare Manchi III, the Paramount Chief of Mayoro traditional area, on behalf of the beneficiaries, commended GRCS and their partners for the intervention.

He said the situation was an affront to their dignity as the people were homeless and living in fear of the annual rains.

MasterCard Foundation Supports Ghana Red Cross Society in Its COVID-19 Response

The MasterCard Foundation has supported the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) in its response against the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

The MasterCard Foundation based in Canada has given the GRCS an amount of $645,000 for its operations in areas including risk communications, social mobilization, hardware and kits supply as well as organizational development.

Mr Sameul Kofi Addo, General Secretary General of GRCS, in his address at the national launch of its response announced that the support from the MasterCard Foundation would see four regions including Western, Volta, Central and Ashanti Region benefit from the support.

We are grateful to the MasterCard Foundation for this life-saving support and we at the GRCS would make sure funds are used for its desired purpose in the four selected regions.

“It is important for us to strengthen our action steps, strengthening and building community resilience against the Covid-19 pandemic.

He appealed to corporate organizations to channel their support through the GRCS who specialize in disaster management.

Mr Kwesi Djokoto, Deputy Volta Regional Director of Public Health and Chairman for the occasion said that “The response to Covid-19 is not something only meant for the Health Service. We would have fallen flat if it were to be.

“So I want to thank the MasterCard Foundation for this important initiative and it further underlines the collaboration that has been going on in the region.

After the launch of the national response, some Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPEs) including face masks and sanitizers donated to some market women at the Ahoe market in Ho.

GRCS pilots new medium of information dissemination in UER

The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has started a pilot communication strategy project in five communities in the Upper East Region aimed at reducing disaster risk.

The project is been carried out in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross involves mounting speaker polls through which Community Disaster Preparedness and Response Team (CDPRT) volunteers in the communities could share messages on disaster risk management.

The project which is expected to last for as long as the volunteers can manage it is expected to give better services, to reach all remote communities and settlements that need such information to manage, reduce risks, and vulnerability, since the traditional media could not do that.

Mr Paul Wooma, the Upper East Regional Manager of GRCS said this when he presented some logistics to the Community Disaster Preparedness and Response Team (CDPRT) volunteers to aid them in their duties.

The initiative was part of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme of the GRCS which seeks to identify hazard-prone areas and prepare response strategies to ensure that its impact on people and their livelihoods are lessened.

The items presented to the volunteers included pickaxes, spades, megaphones, cutlasses, and Wellington boots.

The rest are bicycles, rakes, hand gloves, wheelbarrows, and speaker polls.

Mr Wooma said the items were strategic considering the wake of the novel Coronavirus when people needed to take cleanliness more seriously to protect themselves against the disease.

Communities within the Bongo district that are benefitting from the pilot project are Aniakunkua, Azoosidana, Atonobugrim, Akeeba, and Akana.

Bon-Naba Baba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area commended GRCS for its humanitarian works in the area.

He said a nation that did not take disaster risk management seriously was bound to be doomed as disaster could not be ruled out completely in the world.

Bon-Naba Lemyaarum said tree planting was a serious component in disaster risk reduction as it had the potential to restore the degraded environment in the area and urged community members to incorporate tree planting into their daily activities.

Mr Peter Ayimbisa, the District Chief Executive of Bongo, commended the CDPRT volunteers for their voluntary services and asked that the items be used to the benefit of the whole district.

He said although it was the duty of government to provide the local assemblies with such items, the government could not do it exclusively.

GRCS donates mango seedlings to community volunteers

The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross has donated some mango seedlings to Community Disaster Preparedness and Response Teams (CDPRTs) volunteers in four districts across the Upper East Region.

The districts are; Binduri, Nabdam, Bongo districts and Kessena Nankana Municipal.

Presenting the seedlings to the volunteers, Mr Paul Wooma, the Upper East Regional Manager of the GRCS, said his outfit had embarked on a programme dubbed Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), to train the volunteers as Community Disaster Preparedness and Response Teams (CDPRTs).

He said the volunteers were taken through a series of training to identify hazard prevalence and response strategies, to prepare them and their communities on disaster risk response, to ensure that the impact of disaster on the people and their livelihoods were reduced.

“The volunteers, identified tree growing as one of the ways to reduce the impact of windstorm and other climate change effects, yet it was hardly practised in the communities, so they appealed to the project to assist them with economically viable trees.

“We decided to assist each of the four districts with 500 mango seedlings to plant in their homestead to serve as windbreak and also as a source of livelihood”, he said.

Mr Wooma commended the volunteers for their sacrificial work over the years, saying that the mango seedlings was a gesture to spur them on.
The Regional Manager told the volunteers that huge sums of investments were made in getting the seedlings and transporting it over to their doorsteps hence volunteers should reciprocate the gesture by nurturing the trees properly.

He was thankful to the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) for collaborating with them in their activities to alleviate the suffering of humanity.

Mr Cletus Bugbil, the Binduri District organizer of CDPRTs was grateful to GRCS and pledged to supervise the tree growing to ensure that the trees were well nurtured.

Mr Bugbil appealed for farm tools such as wheelbarrows, shovels, life jacket, pickaxe and others to help them in their farming activities as well as growing the trees.

The DRR project also distributed 800 face masks across the four districts to aid in the fight against the novel Coronavirus.

GRCS donates to mothers’ clubs in UER

The Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has donated 500 bags of fertilizer to Mothers’ clubs in six districts across the Upper East Region.

The areas include Pusiga, Nabdam, Binduri, Bongo, Tongo, and Kassena Nankana Municipal.
Donating a total of 150 bags each to the women in Pusiga and Binduri districts, Mr Paul Wooma, the Upper East Regional Manager of GRCS, said the Mothers’ clubs were a group of volunteers that aid his organization to implement its Maternal and New Born Health project.

He said through the efforts of the clubs, the maternal mortality rate had reduced drastically in their various communities.

“The women appealed for support in the form of farm inputs to help improve their farming activities which are their main source of livelihood but the GRCS could not afford it so we went to the Regional Minister, Madam Tangoba Abayage, who presented us with the 500 bags of fertilizer to be donated to the women as a token for their sacrificial work towards humanity”.

The Regional Manager said that even though it was not enough to meet the needs of the women, it will go a long way to help them in their farming activities.

Mr Zubeiru Abdulai, the Chief Executive of the Pusiga District, who was present at the presentation, commended the women for their good work and urged them to continue working for their communities, pledging his support.

He urged them to desist from making their children work on the farm when they should be in school as that could be detrimental to their future since basic education was a gateway to ensure that every child gets a brighter future.

Madam Juliana Atiiga, the organizer of one of the clubs, expressed gratitude to GRCS and the Upper East Regional minister for the support.

She said they would continue to volunteer their services whenever it was needed as service to their communities was a pleasure to them.

Source: GNA