The Ministry of Health is set to receive an additional GH¢11 million to help it prepare and contain an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, should it surface in the country. The World Health Organisation in its assessment report as of Friday, February 14, 2020, indicated that although government had committed GH¢2.5 million for any eventuality, the amount was inadequate. According to the report, Ghana’s total budget for COVID-19 preparedness stands at GH¢35million.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu said the Ministry was still in talks with the Finance Ministry on getting more resources at its disposal. “We had an initial budget of GH¢35 million, got seed money of GH¢ 2.8 million and we have an indication of an additional GH¢11 million. Aside from these two tranches, the Finance Minister has met with Bank of Ghana where we also met with them to discuss a comprehensive budget with the view of trying to get more resources to put at our disposal towards this fight,” he said.
Mr Agyeman Manu had earlier told Parliament that government was setting up a 100-bed capacity facility in a remote area to serve as a centre for quarantining persons with suspected coronavirus infection. According to him, the facility would be ready in two weeks’ time.
“Mr Speaker, procurement of all regeants…for confirmation of coronavirus cases is currently ongoing to support the two research structures. A quarantine centre has been established. Another remotely located 100-bed capacity facility is being secured for the purpose of quarantine for illegible persons and this will be ready for use in two weeks. We do not hope that we’ll get to that situation,” he told Parliament on Wednesday. He further outlined other new measures the government has put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus into the country.
“For surveillance, we have inducted and circulated Covid-19 case definitions to regional and lower levels. We have also adopted a Cobid-19 investigation form which is currently in use. The national rapid response team has been activated. The national-level training for rapid response teams and local health workers on severe respiratory illnesses has been done. Training of regional and district rapid response teams has been planned for execution.”
Nana Addo expresses satisfaction with Ghana’s preparedness
Already, President Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed his satisfaction with the measures Government has put in place to deal with the threat of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday when he paid visits to the Kotoka International Airport, the Tema General Hospital and the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.
Accompanied by the Minister for Health, the President’s first port of call was the arrival terminal of the Kotoka International Airport. It was revealed by the Health Minister that several stakeholder engagements with the Ghana Airport Company Limited, Ghana Immigration Services, Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority, at all the country’s ports of entry, have been held to strengthen Ghana’s COVID-19 preparedness and surveillance.
The Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Ltd, Yaw Kwakwa, told President Akufo-Addo that on arrival at the airport, all passengers are screened using thermal scanning devices at the airport, and passengers are also required to fill a health declaration form.