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GHS trains risk communicators | News Ghana

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The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has trained the Cape Coast Metropolitan risk communication committee on the use of the Myth, Misinformation and Rumors, (MMRs) dashboard.

The USAID Breakthrough Action project in partnership with the GHS has developed the MMRs dashboard to collate information for effective Risk Communication on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim is to understand the beliefs and fears of the public on vaccine hesitancy and carve out targeted and well structured behavioural communication to achieve the much-desired herd immunity against the disease.

The Dashboard is used for gathering data on other communicable diseases and family planning Services.
The committee, consisting of health workers, representatives of the Ghana Federation of Disabilities (GFD), the Red Cross Society, and the media were equipped with the relevant knowledge and mode of operation of the Dashboard.

Dr (Mrs) Akosua Agyeiwaa Owusu-Sarpong, the Central Regional Health Director, said Ghana started administering various WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines in March 2021 to minimize COVID-19- associated deaths, as well as hospitalization.

She noted that the roll-out of the vaccination campaign was met with vaccine myths, rumors, misconceptions, and misinformation resulting in vaccine hesitancy among some segments of the Ghanaian population.

Hence, the urgent need to gather the MMRs for understanding and resolution of the issues on the ground.
Dr Owusu- Sarpong encouraged health practitioners and other risk communication stakeholders to lead the change in that direction.

The GHS in collaboration with the USAID Breakthrough Action Project is training Regional & District Risk Communication and social Mobilization (RCSM) Sub-Committees with the needed capacity to address and respond to vaccine related myths, misinformation, disinformation, and misconceptions.

Mr Matthew Ahwireng, Regional Health Promotion Manager, said the Service deemed it paramount to sensitize health workers and committee members to be abreast with issues surrounding the vaccination and possible response to addressing them.

The country has collected a total of 7,479 MMRs with 4,976 recorded from the rural communities, 2,397 from urban and 109 in the media, which include social media, FM, and television, among others.

Of the number, the Central Region recorded 497 with 217 from the rural and 279 urban communities.
Some MMRs include “ Pregnant women will lose their babies if they are vaccinated, so why worry?, are we all not human beings, if some will lose their lives then all are not safe”

“ I am not taking this deadly vaccine, some people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine.”

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