Ghana has made steady progress in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic since recording the first case. Over 91, 000 cases have been confirmed with 754 deaths since March 2020, giving a case fatality rate of 0.83%. Effective critical case management of the disease among others could be described as a key contributing factor to this success. To sustain the momentum in the fight, the World Health Organization has presented ICU equipment to the Ministry of Health to support in this direction.
The equipment ranging from Ventilators, air compressors, Pulse Oximeters, Venturi Masks, Nasal Oxygen Cannula with prongs, Oxygen Concentrator Kit spare parts, Coveralls, Gum boots, Shoe covers, etc. has a combine quantity of 9,580 and are valued at GHS 2, 132,000.00. Touching on some issues requiring critical thinking, the Country Representative of WHO Ghana, Dr. Francis Kasolo said the celebration of the World Health Day was the starting point of a year-long equity campaign aiming to bring people together to build a fairer, healthier world. Dr. Kasolo emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic had shone a light on inequalities between countries. Adding that amid shortages of essential supplies, African countries have been pushed to the back of the queue in accessing COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment with access to vaccines being the latest. He further highlighted the inequities within countries, driven by discrimination based on gender, place of residence, income, educational level, age, ethnicity and disability intersect to disadvantage vulnerable populations.
Dr. Kasolo stressed the need for all to act on the social and economic determinants of health, by working across sectors to improve living and working conditions, and access to education, particularly for the most marginalized groups. “Communities need to be engaged as partners, through their networks and associations, to shape and drive health and development interventions”, he added. Dr. Kasolo also highlighted the need for investment to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage, to protect individuals from financial hardship in accessing needed care and to improve service coverage. “I am aware Ghana, like most African countries has initiated reforms in these areas believing that these reforms will in turn contribute to building more resilient health systems and societies”, he said. The Minister for Health, Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu while appreciating the continues support Ghana enjoys described the WHO as a General in the fight against COVID-19 and said he was grateful that despite the strides made in the fight, the organization remain in its effort to help the country to keep fighting until the battle is completely won.
He further bemoaned the inequitable distribution of vaccines saying that “the objective for the establishment of COVAX was to ensure that vaccines are distributed equitably across the globe such that those producing and those who have the know-how wouldn’t keep it to their chest has not yielded much result making supplies a challenge for the COVAX facility itself as well as the African Union”.
The Minister expressed optimism in a strengthened collaboration between the Government of Ghana and the WHO. He added that such gestures would continue serve as a reminder that the disease still lingers on and advised all not to “lose guard”.