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Use advocacy to solve health-related problems

BY: Felicia Kwarteng
The participants and their facilitators.
The participants and their facilitators.

The Hope for Future Generations, in partnership with WACI Health Initiative, has ended a year-long project for youth leaders from 10 regions on malaria prevention and containment.

The project, dubbed :Youth Leaders for Health Initiative (YL4H), is a joint programme funded by Results UK.

The youth leaders were given skills and knowledge of how to prevent and contain malaria to reduce the impact of the disease burden in their respective communities.

The project was implemented in two other West African countries, and sought to bring youth leaders together to solve trending health issues in their communities and regions using the skills they had acquired.

Community development

The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Ofosu, urged the youth leaders to use their acquired advocacy skills to impact their communities positively.

“You have been equipped with strong skills, and it is important that you use those skills to develop your communities and impact lives as that is the only way you can be part of the solutions you seek for,” he charged them.

“Use your skills of advocacy to solve other health related issues and not only malaria; use the network access that you have created across the globe in the period of your training effectively to touch the lives of the people around you.

“That is the only true definition of happiness and fulfillment in life, and together with your knowledge, malaria and other common health issues can be eradicated,” he added.

Training

The Executive Director of Hope for Future Generation, Mrs Cecilia Sanoo, urged the participants to keep up the discipline that had guided their work since the implementation of the project in January 2020, and urged them to recruit more youth to partake in the project.

She added that as the world responded to COVID-19, the youth leaders must ensure that critical work of fighting malaria was not disrupted, saying that was their first call in health related issues. 

The Deputy Programme Manager for the National Malaria Control Programme, Mr James Frimpong, also encouraged the participants to always call on the relevant authorities for health issues when the need arose.

Experiences

A participant from the Western Region, Lucky Soglo, said he had been able to solve the issue of sanitation facing his community using the skills he acquired from the training.

Jennifer El Duah, a participant from the Bono Region, also stated that she had been able to help solve the increase of malaria cases in her community by educating the people to avoid certain practices that promoted malaria infections.

Youth Leaders for Health Initiative is a joint project by WACI Health Initiative and Hope for Future Generations funded by Results UK.

This one-year leadership development programme amplifies the voices of 25 youth advocates from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania who are passionate about health and healthcare systems, and are advocating policy change at key national, regional and global advocacy moments.

The aim is to influence decision makers during a range of pivotal moments to help accelerate progress to end malaria and strengthen health systems in these countries globally.