Future Generation International (FUGI) and Seek To Save Foundation (STSF), health non governmental organisations, have been commended for undertaking childhood immunisation in 60 hard-to-reach communities in the Adaklu and Agortime-Ziope districts of the Volta Region.
A total of 30 communities were covered in each district.
Togbe Lablulu of Adaklu-Waya, Togbi Kpordove IV of Ziope, Togbe Adzimah I,V Atamfia of Ho and their queens, expressed their appreciation for the work done by the two NGOs in the two districts from January 2012 to June 2014.
The chiefs appealed for the expansion of the programme to other communities in the two districts and the Ho Municipal Area noted to be one of the less responsive districts to childhood immunization in the country.
Togbe Kwaku Ayim Fiaga of Ziavi who chaired a stakeholders meeting to assess gains, challenges and future of childhood immunization and reproductive and child health services in the two districts said the two NGOs had vindicated themselves.
Mr Adamu Demsu, representative of Fulani communities in Adaklu, similarly praised FUGI for searching for inaccessible Fulani communities and enticing them with incentives to take part in the immunization programme.
Mr Robert Adatsi, Director, Clinical Care, Volta Regional Health Directorate, said good health begun and ended in homes and not hospitals which only serve as facilities of last resort in critical situations.
He, therefore, called for collaboration among stakeholders in communities to secure the health of their people and take pressure off the health facilities.
Dr Joan Awunyo Akaba, Ececutive Director of FUGI, said nationwide survey by the Ghana Health Service in 2009 identified the two districts then known as Adaklu-Anyigbe District as one of the districts with the lowest childhood immunization coverage in the country.
She said Ghana Coalition of NGOs In Health (GCNH), therefore, secured funding from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to enable STSF and FUGI to embark on childhood immunization in the under-served 60 communities in that district.
She acknowledged the World Bank, UNICEF, Bill Gates Foundation and the WHO that subsidised the cost of the expensive vaccines to make them immediately available through GAVI.
Ms Commend Enyam Akpeloo, Chairperson of GCNH, said the coalition, through STSF and FUGI, assisted the Ghana Health Service to prepare plans and project proposals to reach every child in the 60 communities.
They also provided technical expertise in training and supervision of childhood immunization and community volunteers to support immunization services.
Community registers were also compiled of all pregnant women and children in the communities to enable volunteers to follow-up on defaulters.
Major challenges faced were delays in the arrival of funds, lack of access to the communities especially during the rainy season and apathy among volunteers when funds were not immediately available to pay their stipends.
Chiefs in those communities were asked to provide incentives to keep up the enthusiasm of the volunteers. GNA