Promoting Multilateralism: Partners meet to access World Bank funded COVID-19 humanitarian assistance
The UN and partners continue to provide support to the Government of Ghana’s COVID-19 national response plan to reach the needs of the most vulnerable.
Through the intervention of the United Nations in Ghana and partners, including the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Ghana’s COVID-19 national response plan received a boost to reach the needs of the most vulnerable. Emerging results from a $3.3 million World Bank funded joint project demonstrate a progressive outlook. Hitched on supporting the healthcare system, enhancing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), conducting a food security assessment to enable Government respond to the needs of food-insecure populations, and responding to issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and reaching the vulnerable with services even at the heat of the pandemic, the joint project has been touted as a clear example of doing more jointly.
The healthcare system received support to be better equipped to manage and monitor patients with COVID-19 and other ailments. The health sector received, among other things, 2,200 Nasal oxygen cannula (adult and pediatric), 470 portable handheld and fingertip pulse oximeters (adult and pediatric); 550 Venturi masks (adult and pediatric), Arterial blood gas analyzers and 5 electrocardiogram (ECG) machines. Health workers within isolation and treatment centers also received training and PPEs thereby reducing their risk from contracting COVID-19.
The World Bank Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) project also supported the expansion of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene policies, plans and procedures in schools and led to the enhancement of environmental health services in four regions. For example, 20 new boreholes were drilled and installed with submersible pumps and water storage facilities at select communities and over 200 handwashing stations installed at various bus terminals and markets reaching over half a million people.
For the first time in over 10 years a Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) was undertaken in Ghana at the district level to adequately address food security issues in the country. Preliminary results indicate over 3.6 million people are food insecure in Ghana. Out of these, 24.1% live in rural areas and 13.5% live in urban areas.
Furthermore, the project enabled the UN to support the country to strengthen its response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence by providing services to vulnerable population and working with the responsible Government institutions to launch the Orange Support Centre for SGBV victims and survivors. Approximately 6 million people were reached through radio, TV, public service announcements and social media campaigns on SGBV and COVID-19.
Partners attending the project closeout meeting in Accra placed emphasis on the power of partnership and multiculturalism as an enabler for fighting crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. “We must demonstrate our united front and commitment to rebuilding our communities” says the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta. He added that “With a joint determination, we can make a valuable contribution towards funding Ghana’s structural transformation”.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Charles Abani commended the government, especially the role of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health for their efforts at contributing to the positive strides achieved during the implementation of the project. He assured the government and other stakeholders of the UN’s continuous support especially in its ambition of achieving a Ghana Beyond Aid, adding that “the UN is here to help, and we shall continue to provide the needed support till the pandemic ends. We are all in this together”.
For her part, the World Bank Operations Manager for Ghana Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ms. Agatha Pawloswka, assured the Government of the Bank’s commitment “to continue working together especially in addressing the inequalities in accessing vaccines and controlling the spread of the pandemic”. She also called on the Government to avoid “slippages but continue with the prudent policies and activities towards addressing the pandemic while addressing emerging issues of transparency, value for money and accountability to the people of Ghana”.
Implementing agencies for the World Bank Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility Project include WFP, FAO, UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, and IFRC. In attendance were heads of UN Agencies, heads of government institutions, development partners, project beneficiaries and the media.