The Government of Ghana, the Embassy of Denmark and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have launched a partnership to support Ghana’s COVID-19 response.
A statement issued by UNICEF, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the Representative of the President at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, received, Mr Tom Nørring, the Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, and Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, and their teams to mark the launch of a partnership to support the national COVID-19 response by the Government of Ghana.
It noted that the DKK35 million (or $5.6 million) partnership was expected to complement and expand the scope of the overall sustainable recovery plans as set out by the Government of Ghana.
The statement said the 12-month project, which would concentrate on between six and eight low-income and high-density urban communities in two regions, Greater Accra and Ashanti, would support four main areas.
These include; increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene through sustainable infrastructure and taking measures to prevent and control infections, including positively influencing hygiene and health behaviors by vulnerable communities.
The statement said the partnership would also support community-led engagement and plan approaches to better direct services, and promote best practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
It said it would also focus on scaling up support to prevent and address sexual and gender-based violence, particularly through courts and judicial services; and encouraging the private sector participation in the reduction of potential vulnerabilities, including through the provision of low-cost sanitation.
Madam Dapaah said: “As Ghana records an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, resilient water, sanitation and hygiene facilities become even more essential as we seek to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, and to achieve Ghana’s longer-term goals to be Open Defecation Free, and to provide potable water to all Ghanaians.”
“The Government of Ghana is delighted to see the commencement of this 12-month UNICEF and Embassy of Denmark project, and the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is looking forward to close cooperation to realize our goals.
“On behalf of the Government of Ghana, I thank the Government of Denmark and UNICEF for this partnership and we look forward to working with you on this important project.”
Mr Nørring stated: “After almost 60 years of close cooperation between Ghana and Denmark, it is important for Denmark and me personally as Ambassador to Ghana to show solidarity during these difficult times of the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the needs to reduce the spreading are becoming even more evident, and it will be paramount to take all necessary steps to secure the health and livelihood of the people of Ghana.
“Strong community resilience and awareness, and improved access to water and sanitation have again proven to be crucial – not least in the large cities where people are working and living closely.
“This project, that we are launching today, aims at supporting and underpinning the tireless work done by the Government of Ghana to manage the pandemic by expanding water access and hygiene practices in deprived urban areas.
“This also demonstrates the already existing tight bonds with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.
“And we are of course very pleased to team up with UNICEF in these efforts as we do so in many other places in the world.
“From our side we will do our utmost to make this cooperation, but also our other partnerships in the area of water and wastewater management, a success. Building on many years of innovation and learnings, Denmark has strongholds in sustainable solutions and technologies in the water sector, and I really encourage and hope to see more public and private partnerships in the water sector.”
Madam Dufay added: “The most vulnerable children and families in urban areas are facing the brunt of primary and secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This programme will support the Government in the provision of safe, running water and adequate handwashing with soap facilities, as well as strengthened community health planning.
“We are ensuring the strong engagement of communities, which is essential to address the needs of the most marginalized and have a positive impact. ”More child-friendly gender-based violence courts will also benefit vulnerable women and children.
She commended the Government of Ghana for its unremitting efforts to protect the population against COVID-19 and thank the Government of Denmark for the strategic partnership.
“Within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDP) and the Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plan (SERRP), this programme will complement the efforts of all UN Agencies in Ghana to support the Government in ensuring sustainable and resilient recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Madam Dufay, added.