The World Health Organisation (WHO) has presented assorted intensive care equipment valued at GH¢2,132,000 to Ghana.
The donation is the latest by the United Nations to the country through WHO towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gesture coincided with the commemoration of World Health Day on April 7, 2021, and was to help the country sustain the progress currently experienced in the fight against COVID-19.
The 9,580 items included 220 adult pulse oximeters and accessories; 160 paediatric pulse oximeters and accessories, eight ventilators; eight air compressors and accessories; 30 portable handheld pulse oximeters and accessories, and 275 adult venturi masks.
Others were 257 paediatric venturi masks; 1,100 nasal oxygen cannula with prongs for adults and the same number of the product for paediatric use; 55 oxygen concentrator kits with spare parts; 1,950 coveralls; 270 pairs of gum boots; 330 shoe covers, and 3,780 pieces of 200ml bottles of hand sanitisers.
Presenting the items through the Ministry of Health in Accra last Friday, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Francis Kaslo, expressed the hope that the equipment would help in containing COVID-19 in the country.
“As WHO, we remain committed to ensuring that all people in Africa and globally can realise the right to good health. We also hope that these ICU equipment would go a long way to support government’s efforts to contain the pandemic.
Dr Kaslo said the COVID-19 pandemic had shone a light on inequalities between countries amid shortages of essential supplies, pushing African countries to the back of the queue in accessing COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment and now vaccines.
He said the pandemic had shone more light on discrimination in the health sector based on gender, place of residence, income, educational level, age, ethnicity and disability, among other vulnerable populations.
“To improve this situation, we need to act on social and economic determinants of health by working across sectors to improve the living and working conditions,” he said.
He called for more investments in health to accelerate progress towards attaining universal health coverage to protect individuals from financial hardships to improve access to services and coverage.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, expressed gratitude to WHO for the gesture and the technical and financial support to the country’s health sector over the years.
He said Ghana was, particularly, grateful to the global health body because despite the tremendous strides made with regard to managing the COVID-19 situation, it had not held back its support to help the country overcome the pandemic.
He said the country’s efforts had seen a reduction of the national burden from over 8,000 with 200 cases a day to less than 2,000 cases with less than 50 daily cases on the average.
The minister said government was committed to its promise of ensuring that all who qualified to be vaccinated received their jabs before the close of the year.
He, however, said vaccine equity and nationality had become rare.
“What we are going through with vaccines now is that even if you have money, you cannot get the vaccines to procure anywhere.
“Our President has started very high-level diplomatic engagements, but we are yet to see fruits coming out of that window.
“So the world would have to begin to think differently to see how what it gave a try to, to ensure vaccine equity, works better. This is because with what we see now, the COVAX facility that was to ensure equitable distribution globally is much challenged.
“The AU is also facing challenges with suppliers, and, therefore, Africa would face problems with access to the vaccines. But regardless, we would not lose hope, we will continue to fight on until some of these challenges are resolved,” he stressed.
He expressed the hope that WHO would support in resolving the hurdles to ensure Africa got its fair share of the vaccines.