Dr. Mrs. Joan Awunyo-Akaba

Dr. Mrs. Joan Awunyo-Akaba is a Public Health Nurse who has penetrated the development sector by virtue of her dedication and sensitization of Child Rights including their Right to Immunization and Adolescents and Youth Development, among others.

Joan also promotes income generation activities for young adolescents’ youth, PLHIV, and women. In December 2012, Dr. Joan, out of keen interest, visited Uganda to have personal experience of BRAC's Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) on-going program as a prelude to replicating this in Ghana in the future.

She is keenly involved in Civil Society Organization activities, and was the National Vice Chairperson of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health. She also represented the National Health Coalition on the Ghana Health Services' GAVI Consortium that assesses the eligibility and involvement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Immunization and Health Systems Strengthening in 2009-2011.

She was once the Vice Chair of Action Aid International Ghana, a non-profit-making non-governmental organization, which exists to work with poor and marginalized people to eradicate poverty by overcoming the injustice and inequity associated with poverty.

Civil Society Links
Dr. Mrs. Joan Awunyo-Akaba gained National and International attention and recognition for her Civil Society Organization involvement and was nominated as an alternate member of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) Civil Society Advisory Committee in June 2008. Again, she was nominated on merit as a member of the Program and Policy Committee (PPC) of the GAVI Alliance Board, Geneva, Switzerland in January 2009 - 2012.

This committee among others is responsible for guiding and reviewing policies that contribute to GAVI meeting its mandate of Saving Lives of Children through Immunization. Among the program, the PPC keenly apprises the Accelerated Vaccines Introduction (AVI) of new Vaccines (Penta, Pnuemo, Rotavirus and HPV) in The Gavi Eligible Countries.

From January 2011 to July 2015, Dr. Joan became one of 18 globally selected CSO experts to serve on the World Bank Health, Nutrition, and Population Civil Society Consultative Group (WB HNP CSCG).

Future Generations International
Dr. Joan says she was 'Divinely' led to establish Future Generations International (FUGI), an NGO which focuses on Health Promotion and Development amongst others in 1995. This led her apply to support Immunization Services in difficult-to-reach- communities in Ghana with support from Gavi CSO Type-B Funding between 2008 and 2009. This opened the door for her to work with Gavi on various CSO Immunization issues from 2009 to 2015.

In 2010, she was invited to join a High-Level Meeting in The Hague, Holland to advocate for Gavi’s first Funding Replenishment in 2011, in relation to the work of CSOs in reaching children in difficult-to-reach communities for immunizations. This meeting opened her mind to begin advocating for National Immunization Funds Mobilization in Ghana. Thus, the first FUGI National Immunization Funding Proposal was written to the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana, headed by the late Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, who liked concept and “wanted a Cabinet Memo to be written by the Ministry of Health for its discussion and institution”. Unfortunately, this never happened due to the rapid turnover of Ministers of Health, and his eventual demise.

A great momentum was lost when the President, Professor Atta-Mills died.

A long silence followed, the proposal had to be rewritten because there was nobody to push it at the National Ministerial Levels. The various Ministers of Health and Directors of the Public Health sector were consulted but the enthusiasm and understanding was lacking. Hence, the need to reformulate the proposal as a FUGI Initiative, under the theme Immunization Sustainability Fund (ISFUND). This initiative is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for a wider advocacy for Funds Mobilization, and Investment for Quality Immunization of Children in Ghana, and eventually, Africa, thus, the birth of ISFUND.