SEND-GHANA, a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO) with a focus on health, has called on the Government to prepare for epidemics by dedicating some amount of money towards containments of epidemics in the annual budget for 2022 and beyond.
It said that was the only way to limit the country’s reliance on foreign aid during epidemics.
Madam Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, Senior Programme Officer for SEND-GHANA, who made the call in Accra, said prioritising budgetary allocation for epidemic preparedness would strengthen the health systems in times of eventualities.
She was speaking at a one-day policy dialogue on financing epidemic preparedness and response in Ghana.
The dialogue session organised by the NGO brought together key actors in the health sector and the Finance Ministry to deliberate on ways to allocate money for epidemic control.
Madam Agyemang stressed the need for the government to step up efforts to mobilise domestic revenue to build the country’s reserves to withstand shocks from epidemic outbreaks.
That, she said could be done through broadening the tax net and adding value to the nation’s exports.
She said the Government must create an enabling environment and provide the needed support required for micro, small and medium enterprises to withstand epidemic shocks.
“The government must increase the budget to the health sector to at least 15 per cent of the national budget to ensure adequate resources are available for epidemic preparedness,” she said.
Madam Agyemang observed that the epidemic affects the living conditions of people, weakens health systems and the economy and that preparing for the epidemic was vital to national development and sustainability.
“During epidemic people spend more than they earn instead of waiting to be hit by an epidemic before mobilising money, we need to have a lot of reserves,” she added, encouraging the populace to continue to observe the COVID-19 safety protocols.