The Human Rights Advocacy acknowledges health workers as duty bearers who are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the protection of the rights of key populations in Ghana. We believe that health rights are human rights and for this reason, there should be no barriers to access to health care for key populations (KPs).
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre on the 10th of August organized a human rights education training for health workers in the Eastern Region. The training took place at the Eastern Premier Hotel in Koforidua. In attendance were about 62 health workers from the various districts in the region. The training was to educate them on the rights of KPs to encourage them to avoid stigmatization of key populations when they visit health facilities.
Ms. Philomina Ahiable, Executive Director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre took participants through a value clarification exercise. She also entreated participants to uphold their professional ethics in the discharge of their duties. She stressed the need for health workers to help their clients to make informed choices and not to stigmatize and discriminate against them as it would deter them from accessing health services. She also educated participants on articles and chapters of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, African Charter on Human and People Rights, CEDAW, UDHR and ICESCR that frowns on discrimination and stigmatization.
George Owoo, Programmes Manager of the Human Rights Advocacy took participants through the legal perspective of stigma and discrimination of LGBT persons in Ghana. He stressed that discrimination in Ghana is intersectional and experienced in three levels; individual, community and state (institutions). Therefore to understand discrimination we need to think intersectionally.
Mrs. Gifty Tetebo (Principal Nursing Officer and Regional HIV Coordinator) advised health workers to use existing structures in the health sector to change the negative practices affecting key populations in their access to health care. She advised them to focus on the health need of KPs and not their status or sexual orientation.
The training came to an end with participants making contributions as to what can be done to make healthcare more accessible, and free from stigma and discrimination for key populations.