The Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA) has announced plans to train and introduce some community educators assigned to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Upper East Region.
PARDA’s Director, Dr Michael Wombeogo, made the plans known on Tuesday when his outfit donated some anti-COVID-19 logistics to 20 health facilities in 20 communities within 8 districts in the region. The non-governmental organisation already has produced flyers and posters among some other educational materials for the impending community-based sensitisation outreach programmes on COVID-19 preventive protocols.
“PARDA is going to train some selected few within our target communities to go out to the sections of each community to educate them about the pandemic. We are all aware that if we go down to town, it’s as if there is nothing happening in town, as if there is nothing happening about COVID-19, as if we do not care about COVID-19. But I assure you, this is the only disease that has seized everybody’s breath. The rich and the poor have become level.
“It is a disease [for which] no person, rich or poor, would delight to travel anywhere in the world to seek better treatment. It is a disease that says you should stay at home and you will get treatment. And the only way we can achieve some [feat] over this disease is to educate our people to understand its dynamics. People are saying that, well, if I don’t come together with people, I might not get it. But research has come out recently to indicate that it is no more just droplets but it is also airborne,” stated Dr Wombeogo.
The beneficiary communities are: Namoalug, Gbani, Kpatia and Gorigo in the Talensi District; Gane-Songe, Kotintabig and Nyobagre in the Nabdam District; Sapeliga, Tarikom, Kopela and Tanga in the Bawku West District; Baribari and Asikri in the Bawku Municipality; Gia, Pindaa, Punyoro and Naaga in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality; Sumbrungu and Kunkua in the Bolgatanga Municipality and Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District.
The donated items, worth Gh¢130,000, include 80 personal protective equipment (PPE), 20 temperature guns, 30 Veronica buckets, 400 hand sanitisers, 60 gallons of liquid soap and 20 megaphones.
“Before the region could register its first COVID-19 case, PARDA foresaw the possibility of embarking on mass education strategically in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to avert any catastrophic occurrences of the disease in the Upper East Region.
“This prompted us to make an appeal to our funding partner, OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa), and within a month of presenting our request for support to them, they responded favourably with $30,000 (Gh¢165,000) to achieve the following objectives of the COVID-19— to increase sensitisation on COVID-19 in 20 communities in 8 districts or municipalities of the Upper East Region of Ghana and to increase logistical support for 20 health facilities in 20 communities in the Upper East Region of Ghana,” added Dr Wombeogo.
Upper East Region investigates 1,501 COVID-19 cases
The Deputy Director of Public Health at the Upper East Regional Health Directorate, Dr Josephat Nyuzaghl, welcomed PARDA’s upcoming community-based education outreach programme as crucial to the efforts being made by stakeholders to rid the region of the stigma associated with COVID-19.
“COVID indications are coming down. But the new disease that is emerging has to do with stigma. I’m happy that you have prioritised communication activity as far as your support to the Regional Health Directorate is concerned. I want to assure you that these items, as we hand over to the district directors, it is our expectation that they will hand them over immediately to the beneficiary communities so that they can be utilised for the intended purpose,” remarked Dr Nyuzaghl as he received the items from Dr Wombeogo on behalf of the GHS and the 20 communities.
So far, the region has investigated 1,501 COVID-19 cases, according to Dr Nyuzaghl. Of that figure, only 26 tested positive.
“Out of the 1,501 cases, we’ve received laboratory feedback for 1,429. Out of these, 26, as you are all aware were positive. The remaining 1, 403 were negative. Of the 26, we admitted 20 of them into our treatment centre. As we speak, they have all recovered and we’ve dispatched them back into the communities. But as I said, one issue that [we are grappling with] as a region has to do with stigma.
“And you can only fight stigma when people know about the disease. People who have the disease and have recovered are not people we should be worried about because their status is already known. Those who are walking about and whose status we don’t know are those we should be concerned about,” said the Deputy Director.
Whilst endorsing PARDA’s “grassroots approach” as “the right way” to tackle COVID-19 in the region, the Chief of Yorogo-Kunkua, Naba Adindaa Atiah, also thanked PARDA at the event for the donations and assured both PARDA and the GHS in advance of the cooperation of the members of his community in the community-based war against COVID-19.
By Edward Adeti, Upper East region, Daily Mail GH