The Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana is urging government to do all it can to replenish withdrawn donor funds in the health sector.
Prof. Richard Adanu is worried the huge gains made in the health sector over the years are in danger of being reversed as a result of donor agencies cutting support to Ghana after the country attained middle-income status.
“Government has a responsibility to look at the budget and try to replace what is being pulled out by the donor agencies otherwise our health indicators are going to turn into a direction that we don’t want them to turn,” he noted.
Last year, the Danish Government decided to end its investments in the country’s health sector after 22 years of pumping in millions of dollars so resources can be sent to other poorer countries. A number of other donor partners have also done the same.
“It’s about time that as a country, we came up with our own money to make sure that our people are healthy and not to expect that donor nations will be the ones who will continue to keep us healthy,” Prof. Richard Adanu stated.
He was speaking at the 10th Anniversary Celebration and 1st Scientific Conference of the Ghana Field Epidemiology Laboratory and Training Programme (GFELTP) in Accra.
The GFELTP is a programme at the School of Public Health that is training doctors, laboratory technicians and veterinarians to build their capacity to help the country prevent disease outbreaks and respond properly to emergency health situations.
The training is supported by the US Center for Disease Control. Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Ghana Melinda Tabler-Stone commended the programme for helping build the workforce in Ghana’s health sector.
“They are the boots on the ground. They help track, contain and eliminate outbreaks before they become epidemics…They use what they have learnt to prevent people from getting sick,” she noted.
Director of the GFELTP Dr Ernest Kenu said the programme is helping train graduates to combat diseases, ensure rapid response to emergencies and analyse disease surveillance data for decision-making.
He says they are working to make the West African sub-region free of deadly diseases. “The programme is also a hub for the training of English speaking West African countries from Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone,” he noted.
The Health Minister in a speech delivered for him by Chief Director at the ministry Dr Afisah Zakariah said: “In our quest to control and prevent diseases, we are constrained by issues of inadequate training and financial resources constraints. And needed infrastructure and tools have hampered efforts at emergency care.”
“It is the vision of President Akufo-Addo and the Ministry of Health at large to have a healthy Ghanaian population to advance the development of the country,” Dr Zakariah noted.
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