COVID-19: Ghana’s fight against disease receives major boost as Parliament approves US$35million World Bank facility

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Ghana’s fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has been given a major boost following the approval of a US$35million World Bank facility.

Out of that amount, an amount of $700,000 has been earmarked for vulnerable households in the country.

This was contained in the report of the Finance Committee on the Finance Agreement between the government of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of Twenty-five million, five hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights(SDR25,500)[Equivalent to US$35.00million] to finance the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project.

The agreement was laid on the floor of the House by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, last Saturday, March 28, 2020, and subsequently referred to the Finance Committee by Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye.

The expected project beneficiaries include the at-risk populations, infected people, medical, paramedical and emergency personnel, medical, quarantine, and testing facilities and health agencies in the public, non-state and private sector.

Moving the motion for Parliament to approve the agreement, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah in explaining the rationale behind the deal said government is working feverishly to secure the remaining $65 million from the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the existing World Bank-supported Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project.
“To ensure that the GARID is not truncated, the $65 million will be refunded from Ghana’s IDA 19 allocation which will become effective in July 2020,” he said.
He also informed the House that the country is expected to have a significant negative economic impact from the disease, as preliminary assessment indicates expected petroleum revenue will record a shortfall of GH5.66 billion ($993 million).

The New Juaben South MP also added that the slowing down of domestic economic activity is expected to cost the country some GH2.25 billion.

According to the report of the Committee which is in the possession of ABC News, the project is broken down into four main components.

Component 1; deals with Emergency COVID-19 Response with US$21.5m earmarked. Under this, there is a sub-component which deals with Case Detection, Confirmation, Contract Tracing, Recording and Reporting (US$4.5m). This sub-component seeks to strengthen disease surveillance systems at points of entry, public health laboratories and epidemiological capacity for early detection and confirmation cases, combine detection of new cases with active contact tracing, support the epidemiological investigation, strengthen risk assessment and provide on-time data and information for guiding decision-making and response and mitigation activities.

An amount of US$12.7m has also been set aside for Containment, Isolation, and Treatment in this sub-component, with the focus expected to support the leasing, renting, establishment and refurbishing of designated facilities and centres to contain and treat infected cases promptly.

Component 2 also deals with the strengthening of Multi-Sector National Institutions and Platforms for Policy Development and Coordination of Prevention and Preparedness using the “One Health” approach, with US$3.4m earmarked.

The focus of this component will be to provide technical support for strengthening governance and updating policies and plans, support for institutional and organizational restructuring to respond to emergencies such as pandemic diseases and contracts for private management of newly established infectious disease centres and medical villages.

The component would also support enhancing disease information systems through the development of a disease surveillance information system.

For component three, an amount of $7.4 million will be expended on community engagement and risk communication.

Component four will also set aside $2.7 million for the implementation of management, monitoring, and evaluation of the project management.

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