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COVID-19: Traditional warriors in parts of Kumbungu embrace vaccination

The Northern Region of Ghana had vaccine hesitancy when the statewide COVID-19 vaccination campaign began. Health workers stationed in the Digu and Jebo towns of the Kumbungu area faced a record low or no show at the twin communities’ vaccination centres.

Though other Ghanaians were hesitant, the Jebo and Digu communities faced a unique problem. After realizing that vaccinating the warriors would be wishful thinking, health personnel expressed their dissatisfaction with ZAMI Report.

During a visit by our reporter Prince Kwama Tamakloe on October 7, 2021, it was determined that the refusal to be vaccinated was due to traditional beliefs.

They are traditional warrior groups. Residents do not receive orthodox medication of any kind, including immunizations, because their beliefs prohibit them from using surgical needles.

Despite the fact that there were only two communities, their numbers were substantial to the district health directorate.

The health directorate developed a community engagement strategy to reaffirm their beliefs and set the tone for the COVID-19 vaccines and future communications that may involve the use of surgical needles.

The Northern Regional Health Directorate reported a year later, “There has been a remarkable improvement in the patronage of the COVID-19 vaccine in the northern regions of Sagnarigu and Kunbungu.”

According to the health directorate, one million, seven hundred and forty-eight thousand three hundred and twenty-six (1,748,326) vaccines have been administered in all sixteen districts of the region, with the Tamale metropolis delivering the most vaccines (287,902).

According to the Ghana Health Service in the Kunbungu district, the current outcome is the result of ongoing intensive community sensitization.

Hamidu Aminu, the Disease Control Officer for the Kumbungu district health directorate, stated that his organization used traditional and religious leaders as vaccine ambassadors.

“We were instructed that some ceremonies might be conducted before the immunization, which we did,” Mr Aminu told ZAMI Reports.

The total number of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine delivered in the Kunbungu district as of August 30, 2022, is 82,687, with about 38,409 (46% fully vaccinated) and 43,638 receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Surprisingly, the Sagnarigu municipality, which was also one of the most vocal opponents of the COVID-19 vaccine in the northern region, recorded 101,775 total vaccine doses administered as of 30th August 2022, with 47,090 fully vaccinated people representing 47% and 64,245 people receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Ghana Health Service has witnessed a general improvement in the performance of the COVID-19 immunizations delivered across the sixteen districts of the northern area, according to the data below.

The author is a Mentee for Journalists for Human Rights: Mobilizing Media to Oppose COVID-19.

By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe www.zamireports / Tamale.

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