The Canadian Government has announced an US$ 8 million financial package to support lifesaving services for girls and women in Ghana, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The support is expected to improve quality health, nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene services in four selected hospitals in the Ashanti Region with a focus on gender equality.
The Ashanti Region which currently has the second-highest number of reported COVID-19 cases is benefiting from the programme under a strategic partnership between the Government of Ghana and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
It would strengthen the region’s capacity to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients through the provision of training and supplies, including digital tablets, protective gears for frontline health workers, oxygen therapy equipment, laboratory equipment for regional laboratories and clinics.
H.E. Kati Csaba, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana who announced the package at a brief ceremony at the Ejisu Government Hospital in the Ejisu Municipality on Thursday, said women and girls were disproportionally being affected by the pandemic.
She said Canada was proud to support UNICEF and the Government of Ghana in addressing gender inequalities in their work to prevent and respond to COVID-19, adding that it would help achieve the ambitious targets set out through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She said COVID-19 had placed enormous strain on essential services which had been further challenged by the lack of basic water and functional sanitation services in many healthcare facilities in Ghana.
The support, she disclosed, would set up neonatal intensive care units in support of the newest members of the community and also increase the number of laboratories with COVID-19 diagnostic capacity.
It would also address the gaps in sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to improve the process of infection prevention and control and to mitigate the threat of COVID-19 infections in the selected facilities.
The High Commissioner further said frontline health workers in the Region would receive training, including 2,000 community health nurses, 2, 500 midwives, 100 environmental health and sanitation workers, and 700 community health committee members.
Ms. Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, said strengthening preparedness, primary healthcare, and integrated services across sectors could save lives and help boost progress towards universal healthcare as well as gender equality.
She said UNICEF was delighted to partner with the government of Ghana and Canada to have a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children and women.
Under the project, 11 facilities would be equipped with oxygen concentrators with four other facilities earmarked to receive obstetric care equipment, she revealed.
Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Regional Director of Health Services, said the support was timely because it would enhance the Region’s preparedness in infection prevention, build the capacity of health workers, and provide the needed critical COVID-19 diagnosis, management, and provision of essential health services to women and children.
He expressed the directorate’s appreciation for the intervention and pledged his commitment to ensuring a successful implementation of the project.