SEND Ghana, a policy research and advocacy civil society organization, has expressed worry over government’s lack of commitment to the co-financing agreement of immunization with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).
In its press release signed for Dr Emmanuel Ayifah, the Deputy Country Director, SEND Ghana, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, the organisation said the Government defaulted in its co-financing obligations to GAVI in 2016 and 2018.
It said it only honoured its obligations for 2017, after UNICEF threatened not to supply vaccines to GAVI.
The release said SEND Ghana’s analysis of the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy revealed that after seven years into exiting from the co-financing agreement of immunization with GAVI, the Budget was silent on government’s intentions for immunisation financing.
It described the situation as ‘worrying’ as it was likely to offset the country’s enviable coverage record of 98 per cent of ‘PENTA 3’ and other vaccines should GAVI reneged on its obligation too.
It called on the Government to show clearly, its commitment to transition from counterpart funding to full self-financing of routine immunisation activities by ensuring sustained increase in domestic financing for immunization.
“This will ensure the country does not lose millions of cedis to address the outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases,” the release said.
SEND Ghana recommends that immunization financing should be treated just like the National Health Insurance Scheme.
It urged government to find space in the limited goods and services allocation to provide cold chain facilities to all health institutions at the sub-district level as the Budget was overly focused on ‘Last Mile District (LMD) at the regional centres.
The release said health facilities along the country’s borders must be resourced with the required vaccines and logistics to prevent the spread and transmission of poliovirus from citizens of neighbouring countries seeking asylum in Ghana.
It said government had been vigorously pursuing interventions to ensure that the gains made in polio eradication efforts were sustained.
It, however, said confirmed cases of the disease this year in Chereponi District of the North East Region, Tamale Metro in the Northern Region, and Agbogbloshie in the Greater Accra Region constituted a setback for the country in contributing to achieving a polio-free world by 2021.