The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has developed a Post-COVID-19 era blueprint to holistically fix the deep cracks in Ghana’s health system and upscale the nation’s emergency preparedness.
The NDC in its Election 2020 Manifesto tagged the “People’s Manifesto,” explained that the COVID-19 Pandemic made a tremendous impact on life in Ghana “We must prepare for viruses that are far more dangerous in terms of their infection and mortality rates than the SARS II Coronavirus.
“Given these challenges, our responses must be scientific, organizational and cultural. They must cut across all levels of social organisations, from community and to the United Nations.
“Thus, they must be adaptive. We need comprehensive social change and reorganisation. Fortunately, this is precisely what social democrats, such as the NDC, have campaigned for over the decades,” the NDC stated in its Election 2020 Manifesto.
The NDC explained the leadership of Mr John Dramani Mahama as President and Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as the Vice President, would develop a National Strategy to Combat COVID-19 (NSCC) blueprint.
The party said the Local Governments, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, scientists, traditional healers, traditional authorities, community leaders, youth leaders, leaders of women groups, and religious leaders among others from across the country would be consulted.
The NDC explained that the National Strategy to Combat COVID-19 would consider epidemiology of the virus – the rate of spread, hotspots, strong areas of resistance due to solid community mobilisation, infection positivity rates and the rate at which the virus was reproducing itself.
As part of the broader national effort, it would establish regional Emergency Operations Centres as part of expansion, completion and construction of new health facilities in the regions.
The next NDC government through the National Strategy would strengthen testing capacity; introduce national, regional and district testing centres together with accredited private laboratories.
It said the government would procure the necessary equipment and reagents and training staff so that by the end of March 2021 Ghana could test at least 40,000 people a day across the country.
The next NDC government would purchase additional “RT-PCR” platforms for both Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research whiles upscaling the Navrongo Health Research Centre and the Kintampo Health Research Centre to the standard and status of Noguchi.
The next NDC Government would revise and expand the definition of frontline health workers, whilst ensuring full attention to the needs and priorities of medical personnel.
It would pay for insurance for all frontline staff, reduce the load on frontline staff by creating 2,000 additional isolation/ treatment beds and expand ICU capacity and personnel at University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) to 60 beds by the end of March 2021.
The next NDC Government would also waive import fees, provide tax waivers and guarantee credit to manufacturers to increase the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Private health facilities importing their own PPE would benefit from the package, “we will remove all taxes on wages and salaries of workers/employees in the PPE production sector for 2021.
The next NDC Government would leverage on the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) safeguards to provide COVID-19 vaccines and drugs for Ghanaians.
It would urgently improve Ghana’s ability to purchase equipment, PPE and inputs on global markets by championing and implementing the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT), which is an initiative of the African Union Commission and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to pool continental resources for procurement.
“The next NDC Government would propose and champion a regional PPE production and procurement strategy for ECOWAS states in order to increase market power in global markets and engage international allies to provide additional specialist ICU staff to complement low numbers in Ghana as we train more Ghanaians in ICU care.
The next NDC Government would approach COVID-19 holistically as the principal framework for development planning through our social reorganisation project.
“From our first day in office, we will actively shift resources from luxury spending to enable us to address COVID-19 in a scientific, planned, and sustainable way.
“We will prioritise expenditure on social safety nets and on supplies of PPE for front-line workers – particularly front-line health workers, schools, teachers, and ensure that these actually reach the intended targets.
The next NDC government would organise a national conference on pandemic resilient living within the first Quarter of 2021 to galvanise the country to meet ongoing and future challenges in unity.
It would also set out modalities to improve coordination between Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) based on the accelerated devolution of responsibilities to MMDAs.
It would empower Assemblymen/ women and Unit Committees that work directly with communities, and within the framework of our 2016 Land Use and Spatial Planning Act.
“We would also implement a massive programme to achieve well-planned cities, towns and villages to meet pandemic challenges,” the NDC stated in their Election 2020.
The next NDC government would support community self-organisation to ensure that communities can direct Assembly organisations constructively to provide the specific solutions needed in communities.