Parliament on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, approved $200 million additional funding from the World Bank for Ghana’s COVID-19 response programme.
The funds would be channelled towards the procurement of vaccines and other activities to strengthen the country’s health system.
Before the approval, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu called for the motion to be deferred.
In his view, the Ministers of Finance and Health had questions to answer as to why only 10 out of the 16 regions of the country will benefit from the projects outlined as part of the programme.
“Generally, the terms of the loan are good, but I am dissatisfied that it is only focusing on ten out of the 16 regions we have in Ghana, and my wish is to stand it down for the Ministers for Finance and Health to come and give us an indication how this will cover the six additional regions.”
The government through President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has set a target to inoculate some 20 million Ghanaians against the COVID-19 disease.
The said target is to be achieved by the end of the year, but it does not look feasible at the moment due to the scarcity of the approved COVID-19 vaccines on the market.
This has compelled the government to try all available sources to get some vaccines but to no avail.
This forced the government to try using the services of middlemen to procure some of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines but at a higher cost of US$ 19 other than the original factory price of US$ 10.
This move has not gone done well with some stakeholders, including the Minority in Parliament which is calling for the abrogation of the procurement contract.
Meanwhile, Ghana Health Service has indicated that the country may take delivery of additional COVID-19 vaccines towards the end of July 2021.
According to the Director-General of GHS, Dr Patrick Kumah-Aboagye, plans are far advanced to secure some vaccines by the end of July 2021.
“The non-adherence to the COVID-19 protocols is a concern, and the confirmation of the Delta variant within the community is also a concern for us. So we are urging all Ghanaians that you don’t need any further measures and that all the existing measures still work. Washing of hands, wearing of nose masks, avoiding crowds is very important whatever the variant you have. So we all need to be sure that this is enforced.”
“A lot is ongoing, and we have indications that we may be getting some vaccines probably towards the end of the month, but the challenge is that a lot more is going on from COVAX and the donation from the USA and of course efforts to buy. So all these are ongoing and I am sure at the appropriate time, everybody will be vaccinated.”