With the Takoradi Christmas Masquerade Festival coming off in December, the Western Regional COVID-19 Expanded Programme has begun measures to ensure that both masqueraders and patrons enjoy Takoradi’s major Christmas festival without fears of COVID-19 infections.
In line with that, the Western Regional COVID-19 Expanded Programme is teaming up with the Takoradi Confederation of masquerade Clubs to vaccinate the over 20,000 members in the region from Monday, November 22nd, 2021, to make this year’s Takoradi Christmas festival safe for all.
Speaking to Citi News on the sidelines of the Regional Health Directorate’s media interaction in Sekondi, the Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr. Gifty Amugi, said despite having more than 100,000 doses of vaccines in stock, only 5.8 per cent of the eligible Western Region pollution have fully been vaccinated.
“Now we have the COVID-19 vaccines and for the Western Region, as we started early this year, we’ve been able to vaccinate 5.8% fully from the virus, but that gap that is left is still huge considering the fact that we have upcoming festivities. A major one is Christmas, and also in the Western Region particularly, the masquerade teams what we call the ‘ankos’. These are festive occasions that we all don’t want to miss and because we do not want to miss them, we want to be able to have that kind of association and love with each other, have fun on these occasions in peace.”
“That means we all ought to get vaccinated, so today we came together with the Takoradi Confederation of masqueraders and also the media to look at how best we can go about this occasion. Now from the 22nd of November going, we have set up two sites, one at the Takoradi Library and the Sekondi Youth Centre. In these two sites we are going to have the Ghana health service vaccination team there from 9:00 am each day, and they are going to do the COVID-19 vaccinations for every member of the masquerade teams and every fan of the masquerade teams”, she said.
Dr. Gifty Amugi also said the Western Region has since the pandemic recorded 73 COVID-19 deaths, with none of the deceased persons taking the vaccine.
She, therefore, encouraged the rest of the public to take advantage of the Monday 22 November mass vaccination with the masqueraders as well as existing centres to stay alive.
“Of course everyone in the public, 18-years and above, we are entreating you to come on board and then get vaccinated.”
The Representative of the Western Regional Confederation of Masqueraders, Ed Mark Arthur, told Citi News the collaboration with the Ghana Health Service is timely for the Takoradi Christmas Masqueraders festival.
“We are very excited about this collaboration with the Western Regional Health Directorate of Health for bringing this to our doorstep. This is because as a masquerade group, we have about 45 different groups of masquerade in Sekondi-Takoradi and our numbers are more than 20,000. In the festive season like Christmas, it is a season that all the masquerades in Sekondi-Takoradi see to the biggest event in Ghana. So the directorate coming in to support us with the vaccination is going to encourage us to come out in our numbers with the intention of not going back home with COVID because all our members are going to be vaccinated. That is why we are not only asking our members to be vaccinated, we are asking the public in Sekondi-Takoradi to take this opportunity to come out on Monday, 22nd of November, to get vaccinated so that we can all go out and enjoy the season peacefully”, he said.
The Western Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Yaw Ofori Yeboah, on his part, reiterated the need for all to support the COVID-19 vaccination exercise to ensure Ghana attains the protection shield level.