On October 28, 2020, United States Government representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) joined dignitaries from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ghana Health Service, and partners to virtually launch new content to address COVID-19 prevention protocols, with a focus on stigma, gender-based violence, and mental health messages. The new content will enable disenfranchised and vulnerable populations, including at-risk children, kayayei (porters), and beneficiaries of the Government of Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Program, to access lifesaving information to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 and the adverse effects of social isolation.
Since March 2020, USAID has supported the Ghana Health Service/Health Promotion Division to develop and disseminate COVID-19 risk communication materials that reinforce health promotion messages. Given the heightened adverse effects of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups, representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, the Ghana Health Service, and donor partners developed health promotion messages focusing on stigma reduction, gender-based violence, and mental health in English and five local languages. These new materials will be added to the “3-2-1 platform,” a mobile service available to Vodafone subscribers, will make critical information accessible to over 245,000 active subscribers, enabling individuals to get real-time information in a user-friendly manner. The platform provides information on a variety of topics, including nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, water and sanitation, child protection, and anti-corruption services.
USAID/Ghana’s Acting Health Office Director, Ms. Rebecca Fertziger, emphasized that USAID’s support to Ghana’s COVID-19 response is part of a long-term strategy to support the country’s health system. “Over the past twenty years, USAID has partnered with Ghana to improve the health and well-being of Ghanaians, supporting Ghana’s vision for universal health coverage. Together, we have improved maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes, reduced malaria morbidity and mortality, strengthened district-level management of water, sanitation, and hygiene services, and enabled Ghana to improve the management of supplies and data use to improve health services; including operationalizing the Ghana Logistics Management Information System (GhiLMIS).”
The United States continues to be a global leader in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, illustrated by recent announcements of new foreign assistance made possible through the American people’s generosity and the U.S. Government’s action. The American people have given more than $11 billion U.S. that will benefit the global COVID-19 response and continue to ensure that the substantial U.S. funding and scientific efforts on this front remain a central and coordinated part of the worldwide effort against the disease. In Ghana, the United States, through USAID, has provided almost U.S. $19 million to address immediate impacts of COVID-19 by helping to strengthen health systems, and to improve reading outcomes through the government’s distance learning program, and to support economic growth and conflict mitigation.