Summary: CHF 76,060 was allocated from IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) in April 2012 to support the National Society in delivering immediate assistance to some 3,200 households (16,000 beneficiaries) affected by the Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) outbreak in Upper East Regions of Ghana.
The operation lasted for three months, during which time Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) mobilized and trained 160 volunteers to carry out social mobilization for vaccination activities. As the leading organization in social mobilization during emergencies and national immunizations, Ghana’s Ministry of Health relies heavily on Red Cross volunteers to mobilize communities for health preventive measures and surveillance during such emergencies.
The outbreak of CSM in the Upper East Region affected 466 people and claimed 38 lives with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 8 from week 1 to 29 (Ghana Health Service, Upper East).
The trained volunteers targeted 3,200 households with an average family size of 5 (16,000 people) to be reached with health messages on the meningitis outbreak, prevention and control. However, due to the magnitude of cases, volunteers were able to reach a total of 26,045 people.
Meningitis related IEC materials were adapted, printed and distributed to the target population. Radio jingles and TV discussions on the importance of avoiding crowding especially in public gatherings and while sleeping were broadcast in local dialect. Advocacy visits and meetings were held with key partners, such as the Ministry of Health, WHO, traditional and religious leaders as well as school heads. These motivated the communities to support Red Cross work.
The Swiss Red Cross sent a health delegate to assist in the training of more volunteers in all the districts of the affected region. Over 100 volunteers including Mothers Club Members were trained by the delegate.
The European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) contributed to the DREF in replenishment of the allocation made for this operation.