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SEND GHANA, a subsidiary of SEND Foundation of West Africa, has called on the Ministry of Finance to set aside a dedicated budget to finance Epidemic Preparedness (EP) and the implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) and the Ghana Centre for Disease Control.

It said this would necessitate the adequate response to the threat of epidemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 and to ensure equitable and effective health care delivery in times of epi/pandemic outbreaks.

“Similarly, sustained and increased domestic financing for immunisation activities is essential in preventing disease among children, and a sure way of enabling Ghana to progressively and fully finance its immunisation services after Gavi support ends in 2027.”

Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, Country Director, SEND GHANA in a release signed and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the call formed part of proposals submitted to the Finance Ministry for consideration into the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy collated from citizens on key sectors such as health, education, early childhood development, agriculture, gender and social protection.

He said for effective primary healthcare delivery, especially in rural areas, the government should ensure timely reimbursement of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims to service providers and facilities.

The Director said the Ministry must improve access and provide quality free and compulsory primary education for children by allocating a budget for the cost implementation plan for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Policy Framework.

“Budgetary priority should focus on the six Action Areas; Effective Planning and Management, Curriculum Development and Implementation, Competent In/Pre-Service Teachers and Non-Professionals, Family and Community Engagement, Infrastructure and Monitoring, Regulation, and Quality Assurance.”

He noted that the government must speed up the establishment of the Agriculture Mechanisation Service Centres (AMSEC) in all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to increase smallholder farmers especially women’s access to a tractor and other agricultural services.

Mr Osei-Bimpeh said the government must further institute a deliberate mechanism that targeted women and vulnerable groups such as Person With Disability and Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty beneficiaries for the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme while promoting their easy access to inputs.

The Director urged the Ministry to allocate significant funding to support the implementation of the Integrated Social Services (ISS) programme and establish an inter-sectoral body to oversee its successful implementation for effective delivery of child protection and welfare programmes.

“To achieve this, the institution of appropriate legal provisions supported by good leadership is required to establish and fund a body that seeks to strengthen inter-sectoral coordination between district-level institutions such as the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Department of Social Welfare and Community Development (DSWCD), Ghana Education Service (GES), Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) and integrate other support services for effective delivery of child protection and welfare programmes.”

He called on the Ministry to provide funding for holistic implementation of the Inclusive Education policy to ensure that the educational needs of street children, children with disability, and special needs were adequately met.

The Director further stated that the feeding fee must be increased from GHS 1 per day for a plate of food to GHS 2.50 in order to improve the nutritional status of school children and also improve the quality of meals served under the Ghana Schools Feeding Programme.

He said the government must also consider making sanitary pads more accessible by reducing the cost (elimination of tax) and providing viable local alternatives.

Mr Osei-Bimpeh said it was the hope of SEND GHANA and its partners; Oxfam, USAID, UNICEF, African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), International Budget Partnership (1BP), Global Health Advocacy Incubator) that the inputs would be given the utmost consideration by the government adding that “we look forward to their reflection on the 2021 budget statement.”

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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