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Sunday, February 5, 2023

“We are allergic to vaccines” – Traditional warriors of Kumbungu reveal as they shun covid-19 vaccination officers

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday, March 1, 2021, took his Covid-19 jab on live television to demystify the myth and conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccines at the time. Nana Akufo-Addo and his spouse Rebecca Akufo-Addo received their jabs at the 37 Military Hospital while Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his spouse Samira Bawumia received their jabs at the Accra Police Hospital.

Among the conspiracies was the vaccines’ ability to alter one’s Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). But this was debunked by fact-checkers. But there are some groups of persons in Ghana who are still sceptical about the vaccines and might hinder the efforts by the government in protecting lives.

Vaccines in the Northern region.

In his report on vaccine acceptance in the Northern region presented a vivid representation of people’s conception and the need to intensify education if Ghana is determined to achieve herd immunity by the end of 2021. The Sagnerigu municipality was one hub of vaccine hesitancy at the time.

The Jegbo and Digu communities in the Kumbungu district in the Northern region seem to live in their own space with regards to Covid-19 and vaccination.

Ghana Health Service on 24th September commenced rolling out nationwide vaccination exercise targeted at all citizens 18 and above. The exercise was expected to end by the first week of October. Health workers were dispatched to the various communities to innoculate eligible persons.

On the 7th October 2021, ZAMI Report’s Prince Kwame Tamakloe visited the Digu and the Jegbo communities following concerns raised by health workers stationed in the community to conduct vaccination. The health workers hinted that  community members shun them and never showed up for the vaccination when they visited on 2nd and 4th October respectively.

Musa Osman a resident of the Jegbo community, explained that the two communities are the warrior communities of the Kumbungu traditional area and inhabitants are “allergic” to vaccines.

“We don’t take injections because the use of orthodox medicine can destroy the charms we use during wars,” he revealed

Abubakari Mahama, a community volunteer in Jegbo who is among the only eight (8) persons who received the vaccine hinted that this ingrained position has witnessed similar attitudes in the wake of Guinea worm, yellow fever, and hepatitis B.

“You have to continue to plead with them and hope that they change their stance because they believe in the tradition that warriors cannot receive any form of injection.”

But there is a more disturbing phenomenon in the Digu community. Nobody from the about seven hundred and eighty (780) indigenes from eighty-seven (87) households participated in the vaccination.

The head of the Jegbo Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound Issah Abdul-Razak termed the situation as “unfortunate.”

He explained that, upon several announcements in the mosques where almost every native worships, the vaccination officers appeared not visible to the people in their two weeks stay in the community centre and market, “that is just their behaviour whenever there is a vaccination going on, you will talk to them and become tired.”

Razak however revealed that members from the Yuguyili, Gbongnayilli and Song communities alone took 1,500 doses of the vaccines.

One would expect that women and people age 18 will participate in the exercise but that is far from being the case.

Dawuda Amina a mother of four (4) and her first child of 19 years have been cautioned by her husband not to take the vaccine over the myth of not getting pregnant.

“I have heard of the deadly nature of the COVID-19 but the warning by my husband is what is preventing me from going for the vaccine, I don’t want to have any problem with him in the future when I cannot give birth because of this vaccine,” she lamented

Head of the CHIPS, Issah attributed the vaccines hesitancy to low sensitization, saying, “The Kumbungu district health directorate did not release enough resources for the exercise, sometimes I give my pocket-money to the community volunteers to go round to do the announcement on the vaccination.”

He said until significant efforts are made towards intense sensitization on the COVID-19 vaccines, the situation will remain the same in the area.

Chief was out of town.

Meanwhile, the chief of Jegbo, Jego- Lana Amadu Iddi said he “didn’t vaccinate because he was out of the community throughout the vaccination days” but has committed to getting vaccinated. He however has no qualms about the refusal of his traditional warriors to get vaccinated.

“It is a good decision they’ve made not take the vaccines because we have never taken injections so who will defend us when our community is under attack if they take the vaccines and something happens to their charms,” he quizzed.

The Disease Control Officer of Kumbungu district Hamidu Aminu said his outfit has put measures in place to ensure that everyone legible for the vaccination is vaccinated.

He proposed the performance of some rituals ahead of the vaccination to allay the fears of the warriors about losing the potencies of their charms. He revealed that vaccination in the Kumbungu district generally has been pretty successful.

Some 37,139 doses out of 56,347 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines that were available to the Northern Regional Health Directorate have been administered.

Ghana’s Covid-19 situation.

Ghana’s COVID-19 confirmed case count as of 14th October 2021, stood at 128,368 with 1,158 deaths while recoveries and discharged stood at 124,514 taking the country’s active cases to 2,696 while the Northern region has a total case count of 1,747 with 1,685 recovered and discharged while the total number of deaths stood at 31 with no new case recorded.

Prince Kwame Tamakloe is a Mentee under the Mobilizing Media to Fighting COVID-19 project by Journalist for Human Rights.

By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe |www.zamireports.com |Tamale.


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