ORGANIZATIONAL POLICY AND STRATEGY

FOR PREVENTION

OF

Introduction

This policy and strategic document is developed by Friends of the Nation (FoN) as part of measures to contribute to the prevention of COVID-19 pandemic among staff and beneficiaries. This document outlines policies and strategies to guide FoN for implementation of Non-Pharmaceutical Countermeasures (NPC) for COVID-19 prevention and case management.

Background Information on COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and also called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019-nCoV) is defined by WHO as an illness caused by a novel coronavirus. COVID-19 was first reported in China in December 2019, and On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency also on March 11, 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. As of May 2020, COVID-19 had spread throughout 195 countries of the world and infected millions of people and has caused hundreds of thousands death globally. WHO has indicated that COVID-19 spreads from person to person through infected air droplets that are projected during sneezing or coughing or speaking. Also, WHO says the disease can be transmitted when humans have contact with hands or surfaces that contain the virus and touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with the contaminated hands.

 Ghana Context of COVID 19

In Ghana, the index case of COVID-19 was recorded on 12th March 2020, since then the Government has continued to institute several measures in line with WHO recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19. The measures included but not limited to; restrictions of social gatherings including meetings, conferences, etc. closure of schools, the introduction of lockdowns, provision of PPEs, communication on handwashing and hand sanitizing, compulsory nose mask, etc. The government also initiated a rigorous 3 prong approach of Tracing, Testing and Treatment with the intention to contain the spread of the disease.  However, Ghana’s COVID-19 cases rose since the index case and by May 2020 Ghana had recorded one of the highest rates of infections in Africa with thousands of persons infected and some deaths recorded. Government begun to ease some of the restrictions as containment measures proved efficient. Against this background, there has arise the need for Friends of the Nation (FoN), to develop policies and strategies on COVID-19 to promote prevention and case management of its staff and partners.

Organization Background

Friends of the Nation (FoN) is a socio-environmental advocacy NGO established in 1993 and registered in 1994. The vision of FoN is to see a world where communities manage their environment in a sustainable and healthy manner; and where equal opportunities exist for all people in the use of natural resources. FoN’s goal is to enhance active citizenship, social accountability and human rights in Resource governance for positive and inclusive development outcomes. The organizational mission is to catalyze increased action on sustainable natural resource governance and healthy environment through Knowledge transfer, training, research, networking and advocacy.

 Why does FoN need a COVID 19 policy and Strategy

The nature of FoN’s operation exposes its staff to constant interactions with communities, individuals, etc therefore, FoN have to ensure the protection of its staff and beneficiaries as a mandate and as well as social and cultural obligation.

FoN is also obliged legally to comply with COVID-19 prevention and case management directives by the government of Ghana.

Also, the unique field-based nature of FoN’s operation also provides a unique opportunity for FoN to support COVID-19 prevention actions by providing information to beneficiaries on COVID-19 prevention and reinforcing such practices and preventive protocols. Because FoN operates offices in Western Region, Central Region, Greater Accra and Volta Regions of Ghana and operates in over 500 communities located within over forty (40) districts in Ten (10) Regions of Ghana. Such accessibility platforms, therefore, provide the opportunity for FoN to contribute to COVID-19 prevention for staff and beneficiaries.

FoN’s Approach for COVID 19 Prevention Policy and Strategy

Due to the nature of the Novel Corona Virus and the mode of transmission, FoN will adopt precautionary principle approach in the formulation and implementation of policy and strategies with the aim to protect and prevent infections of staff and beneficiaries.

FoN will implement Non-Pharmaceutical Countermeasures (NPC) for the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) measures to protect staff and beneficiaries. The primary objective is to reduce contacts and risk of infection or disease transmission from a beneficiary to staff and or from staff to staff. The elements of the NPC include the following countermeasures:

  • Information and capacity building: FoN will conduct regular training sessions of COVID 19 prevention strategies for staff and beneficiaries. FoN will also continue to seek information and provide update to staff with new information about the virus and the mode of transmission.
  • Provision Personal Protective Equipment PPEs: FoN will provide PPEs to staff to protect them, the PPEs will include nose mask, Hand sanitizers and hand washing items to staff, etc.
  • Implement Environmental Countermeasures: FoN will ensure availability of running water, hand sanitizing and hand washing systems at Offices and all meeting venues.
  • Implement Hygienic Countermeasure: FoN will ensure compulsory hand washing with soap under running water, hand sanitizing with alcohol based sanitizing, etc. at offices and at all meetings.
  • Implement Social Distancing Countermeasures: FoN shall comply with all social and physical distancing directives and protocols prescribed by Government. FoN will ensure physical spacing at offices and all meetings of a minimum of 1 meter as prescribed and make amendments if new distancing protocols are introduced by Government or the WHO.

COVID 19 Preventive Actions

FoN shall implement and complied with all existing and future Government laws, regulations and directives on COVID 19 prevention and management.

FoN shall adopt the practice of No Nose Mask, No Entry policy and this will apply to entry to all FoN offices, Conferences, workshops, meetings and events.

Safety Protocols for Staff and Beneficiaries.

FoN is promote the following safety protocols below proposed by WHO and is encouraging the adoption by staff and beneficiaries.

  • Avoid touching of face: FoN will sensitize and encourage staff and beneficiary to practice no touching eyes, nose, and mouth unless hands are properly sanitized or washed under running water. This is to prevent transfer of the virus from contaminated hands.
  • Washing of Hands: FoN will sensitize staff and beneficiaries to practice regular washing of your hands with soap under running water as often as possible or as soon as one touches objects and surfaces that could be exposed to others.
  • No Hand Shaking: Avoid shaking of hands with others and practice other means of greeting that are culturally acceptable but do not involve close contact.
  • Use hand sanitizer: use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as often as possible if you do not have access to hand washing facility. Keep out alcohol-based hand sanitizers with you all the time. At home keep the sanitizers out of children’s reach. You can teach the children how to apply the sanitizer and monitor its use.
  • Social and Physical Distancing: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Avoid going to crowded places or using public facilities if possible. In the grocery store, maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and other shoppers. Wipe frequently touched surfaces as grocery carts or basket handles with disinfectant wipes. Avoid touching your face.
  • Good Respiration hygiene: FoN will also sensitize and encourage staff to follow good respiration hygiene, which includes proper ventilation of offices and meeting venues, etc.

Policy on communication and Information on COVID-19 preventive measures

FoN will provide adequate information and training of Staff on COVID-19 preventive measures to ensure that all staff are equipped with relevant information to protect themselves against COVID-19. FoN will provide communication and awareness creation platforms on COVID-19 preventive measures to beneficiaries at Conferences, workshops, meetings and events.

 Policy for Workshops, conferences, meetings, etc

FoN will comply with all government directives for Workshops, conferences, meetings, events, etc.

  • FoN will facilitate temperature monitoring protocol for all participants and laisse with personnel of Ghana Health Service to manage cases of high temperature.
  • FoN will ensure that facilities used for Workshops, conferences, meetings, etc have proper and adequate handwashing and hand sanitizing facilities at the entrances and vantage points to facilitate handing washing by participants/ beneficiaries.
  • No nose Mask No Entry policy will be strictly used for all workshops, conferences, meetings, etc.
  • FoN will observe social distancing protocol of minimum of 1meter spacing for all workshops, conferences, meetings, etc. FoN will apply new social distancing protocol if or when reviewed by Government.

Protection of Vulnerable Staff /Groups

The WHO and Ghana health services have defined vulnerability groups to include people with underlying conditions such as hypertension and diabetic patients, heart conditions and other breathing impairment conditions, etc. other vulnerability groups include Pregnant women, lactating Mothers, Aged, People with disabilities, etc.

Policy for Staff with underlying Conditions

FoN will implement preferential safety protocol for staff within the vulnerability groups mentioned above. FoN will ensure the protection of all staff within the identified vulnerable groups. FoN will redefine their role and responsibilities to limit the level of exposure and contacts with others. For example, Staff with such underlying conditions will be:

  • Restricted from travels for field activities in identified COVID 19 hot spot zones
  • Restricted from direct contact with participants at workshops or meeting e.g. registration, paying of T&T subsidy, serving of snacks and other activities that will expose them to contacts.

Protocol for Beneficiaries with underlying Conditions

FoN will operate preferential protection policy for beneficiaries with underlying conditions. Participants identified with such conditions with be provided special seating to ensure adequate distancing protocols.

Where possible special arrangement will be made for such participants for meals (Snack, Lunch or Dinner, etc) to ensure safe distancing, etc

What to do if any staff/beneficiaries show symptoms.

Staff will inform his/her supervisor if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID 19 such as; cough, headache, fever, high temperature, difficulty breathing and other symptoms described by WHO to be associated with COVID 19. Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms until you recover.

In the event that any staff or beneficiaries show symptoms they will be quickly isolated. Staff will be advised to seek medical advice/ care or COVID-19 emergency response phone numbers provided by GHS and or consult your local health authority and follow the directions.

Communication by Staff of suspected Case(s)

All staff, who may experience any of the symptoms associated with COVID 19 will be directed to seek medical advice or care or call phone numbers provided by GHS in advance if possible and follow the directions.

Also if staff have reasons to believe that they have been exposed to persons with positive cases, he/she shall inform FoN Management as soon as possible to allow FoN to engage the necessary processing within this policy document.

All staff who are contacted by the government’s contact tracing team as identified or linked to any positive case shall immediately inform FoN management team for the activation of necessary protocols.

Policy on COVID 19 Cases Management

FoN will work with Ghana Health Service and relevant organizations to follow strictly laid down case management protocols. Specifically, FoN will:

  • Allow testing of staff and beneficiaries.
  • Support contact tracing in evidence of any suspected cases.
  • Collaborate with Ghana Health Service and relevant agencies where necessary for detention, isolation, quarantine and other protocols for case management.
  • Collaborate with relevant agencies for fumigation and disinfection exercises whenever required as a process for safety and case management.

Policy on Stigmatization

FoN adopts no stigmatization policy, by this FoN will ensure that staff who contracts COVID 19 are not stigmatized, not discrimination or humiliated in any way by the organization, colleagues and or partners. FoN will not terminate the contract of any staff on the grounds of COVID 19 infections. Information of any affected staff will be kept within FoN’s internal communication with strictly no disclosure to the public.

FoN COVID 19 Committee

FoN will form COVID 19 committee within FoN for the implementation of this policy. Detail Terms of reference will be developed for the committee to guide their work. However, the committee will report to FoN management team and support FoN achieves the aspirations of this COVID 19 prevention policy document.

Additional Preventive and Case Management Measures

WHO has indicated that scientists are still learning about the COVID 19 and will update the public with new information about the virus and propose additional measures on preventive measures and how to manage cases. FoN will, therefore, review this document with any new information and or new preventive directives as and when such updates are provided by WHO or relevant national agencies.

Annex A

WHO WE ARE

Friends of the Nation (FoN) is a socio-environmental advocacy NGO established in 1993 and registered in 1994.

Vision: A world where communities manage their environment in a sustainable and healthy manner; and where equal opportunities exist for all people in the use of natural resources.

Goal: Enhance Active Citizenship, Social Accountability and promoting human rights in Resource governance for positive and inclusive development outcomes.

Mission: To catalyze increased action on sustainable natural resource governance and healthy environment through Knowledge transfer, training, research, networking, and advocacy.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF PROGRAM AREAS

Resource Governance: To promote active citizenship and participatory governance for improved management of natural resources including mining, oil and gas, forests, fisheries, oceans and coastal zones.

Community Development: To enhance Population-Health-Environment (PHE) and foster access to Reproductive, Sexual and Public Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.

Active Citizenship:  To promote Civic Participation and Social Accountability in the governance and management of public resources.

Human Rights: To promote Human rights particularly, Child rights, women rights, youth rights and rights of men in national and sectorial policy formulation and implementation with the view to promote human dignity and rights.

Enterprise Development: To contribute to private sector growth by promoting appropriate ethical behaviors and partnerships through business advocacy and public-private-social partnerships.

WHAT WE DO

  • Research: social and environmental studies, including community surveys and characterizations; source of grassroots information for government, academia and media.
  • Community Animation: community mobilization, advocacy group formation and strengthening, facilitation of community engagement with government.
  • Communication: production of documentaries, education and sensitization programs, communication materials (banners, billboards, flyers, newsletters etc.), telephone hotline etc.
  • Media: press releases, radio and television programs, jingles, talk shows, interviews, social media.
  • Dialogue: facilitation and setting up citizens-government-private sector dialogue series, formation and management of stakeholder dialogue platforms.
  • Policy Advocacy: facilitation of policy dialogues, policy briefs and discussion papers.
  • Capacity strengthening: training, information and knowledge transfer to grassroots associations, CBOs/NGOs, journalists, government agencies etc.

STAFF STRENGTH: We have twenty-two (22) permanent Staff, four (4) volunteers and fifty (50) community focal representatives. Our permanent staff has expertise in the following: Metallurgical Engineering, Environmental Resources Management, Fisheries and Aquatic Science, Project Accounting, Development Planning, Economics, Social Science, Social Work, Sociology and Mass Communication.

OUR CORE VALUES: Participation, Accountability, Gender sensitivity, Equality and Self-Reliance

We work with Government agencies both at national and local levels and traditional authorities.

FoN is a member of the IUCN and other national civil society networks.

Funding is sourced from Development Partners and voluntary contributions.

FoN is governed by a six-member Board

GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS: We operate in over 300 communities located in over forty (40) districts in the Western, Western North, Central, Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta Regions of Ghana.

OFFICES LOCATION:

Western Region: Adiembra in Sekondi (on the Premises of Dept. of Parks and Gardens)

Central Region: Cape- Coast (Ground floor of the CEDECOM Building)

Volta Region: Keta. (Behind Water Works)

LEGAL STATUS

Registered with Ghana’s Registrar General since 1994 with Reg. # 54457 and new registration # CG000112016. Also Department of Social Welfare with Reg. # No. DSW/623

BUSINESS ADDRESS: Post Office Box MC 11, Takoradi, Ghana

OFFICE LOCATION: Head Quarters: Located at Adiembra near Sekondi in Western Region, Ghana on the premises of Department of Parks & Gardens.

Contact Person:

Donkris Mevuta, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Email: info@fonghana.org

friendsofthanation@gmail.com

(+233) (0) 24 4520 686

WEBSITE: www.fonghana.org

SOCIAL MEDIA:

www.facebook.com/FonGhana

www.twitter.com/GhanaFoN

OFFICE TELEPHONE: (+233) (0) 31 2046181

E-MAIL ADDRESS: info@fonghana.org

friendsofthenation@gmail.com

Spread the love