The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-designate, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, says Ghana is committed to tackling emerging health challenges.
She said this is evident in Ghana’s acceptance to host the Field Hospital and join hands with the global community in that regard.
The Minister noted with satisfaction the excellent collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the manning of the Field Hospital, expressing appreciation for opportunities for knowledge transfer and capacity-building.
Ms Botchwey gave the assurance when the newly appointed WHO representative to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo, called on her at her ministry in Accra yesterday.
She observed that the government attaches immense importance to the health sector, and had undertaken several initiatives such as the launch of Ghana’s drone service to improve healthcare, by rapidly delivering emergency and essential vaccines, life-saving medications and blood products, especially, in hard-to-reach areas.
The Minister-designated added that the services provided by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) have improved significantly under the Akufo-Addo government.
“Government’s immediate action is focused on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the population, and I urge the WHO to assist in that regard,” she said.
Ms Botchwey further invited the WHO representative to share with her the arrangements WHO has put in place to help developing countries to get access to the vaccines.
In addition, she applauded the phenomenal leadership role of WHO in combatting health crisis, including the current Covid-19 pandemic.
She further commended the collaborative efforts of WHO and the World Food Programme (WFP) in the establishment of the United Nations Covid-19 Field Hospital in Accra, as part of the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Botchwey additionally noted with concern the reported cases of Ebola in some African countries, particularly the Republic of Guinea, saying “this will impose additional burden on the limited resources that the affected countries would have to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
She recalled Ghana’s leadership role in the fight against Ebola in the West African sub-region in the recent past, and assured that Ghana stands prepared to support regional and global efforts to stop the spread of Ebola;
The Minister-designate also acknowledged the contributions of the former WHO representative to Ghana, Dr Neema Kimambo, in support of the government’s efforts to address various health issues in the country as well as deepen Ghana’s partnership with the WHO. She expressed the hope that Dr. Kasolo would further build on the established cooperation.
Ms Botchwey was optimistic that the experiences acquired by Dr Francis Kaloso in the Africa region would prove beneficial in the current fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana as well as facilitate national response in the event of an Ebola case in the country.