The Netherlands contributed at the beginning of April the amount of €100million to the WHO for the fight against COVID-19 in the more vulnerable countries. This support aims not only at preventing and combatting COVID-19 but also focusses on mitigating socio-economic consequences.
At the beginning of last July, the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade announced that some further €150million would be made available to help the more vulnerable countries in their fight against COVID-19. Even when the COVID-consequences come hard on the Netherlands itself, and indeed they do, the Dutch still stand ready to help and support other countries combat COVID and soften the socio-economic consequences.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-crisis in March, the government of Ghana has done a commendable job to contain the COVID-crisis,” said Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, recently.
“Like their counterparts in the Netherlands, thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical staff are at the forefront to provide care and keep us safe. Like all Ghanaians, we as members of the international community are grateful for that. We as Dutch are proud that we can be of support, and we intend to continue that support.”
Dutch support for efforts to combat COVID-19 amounts as per mid-July 2020 to almost GH¢4million and an increase to some GH¢5million is envisaged in the next couple of weeks.
Some of the most important interventions are stated below:
Healthcare (1) COVID Connect Centre (€300,000 – ca. GH¢2million)
In May, the COVID Connect Centre was launched within the University of Ghana Medical Centre. This is a virtual monitoring app with a back-end Care Coordination Centre at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) that gives subscribers access to needed clinical support from a team of medical experts and specialists.
It is based on technology developed by the Dutch IT-company Luscii. The programme is considered a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19, and some 2500-plus patients are benefitting from it. COVID-Connect is now being rolled out to other parts of the country.
This initiative is a joint one of Ghana’s Ministry of Health, University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) and the Ghana branch of the social enterprise PharmAccess Foundation, based in the Netherlands. The project is largely funded by ACHMEA, a Dutch insurance and pension company and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank which has supported programmes in Ghana for over four decades. The total support from the Netherlands amounts to some €300,000.
In addition to this, with the help of Pharmaccess and the Ghana Health Service, a programme is at present being developed to ensure better protection for healthcare workers in Ghana against COVID; so that they can continue providing care within the COVID-period and beyond and/or a programme to enhance the capacity and efficiency of existing laboratories currently conducting COVID-19 tests. Dutch funding will amount to €200,000 (GH¢1,350,000).
Healthcare (2) Computer-Aided Detection of COVID-19 (€122,600 – ca. GH¢820,000)
On the initiative of the Dutch company Delft Imaging, in July 20 hospitals in Ghana which were earlier assisted in getting digital X-ray equipment installed at their facilities as part of a large Dutch-funded €22million Infrastructure Programme will receive and install small computer boxes with Delft CAD4COVID-software.
The software contains Artificial Intelligence, which helps to detect at an early stage lung conditions caused by COVID-19. Funding at the amount of €122,600 comes from the Dutch Good Growth Fund, which is being managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Some 55 medical facilities are envisaged to be equipped within this programme.
Healthcare (3) – CORIP (GH¢65,000)
Within the framework of the longstanding Dutch funded Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Project (CORIP), Personal Protective Equipment (overalls, goggles, facemask, and boots) will be donated to six Health Facilities within the project catchment area. Each Health Facility will benefit from €1,700 of PPEs. Total contribution will come to €10,000, or some GH¢67,000.
Healthcare (4) SWAPP (GH¢200,000)
The Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Project (SWAPP) distributes some 20,000 branded face-masks to direct project beneficiaries over the current period. The total costs are estimated at €30,000, or some GH¢200,000.
Healthcare (5) Tax Revenue for Economic Enhancement Programme (TREE) (GH¢10,000)
Within the framework of the Tax Revenue for Economic Enhancement Programme (TREE), which focusses on the improvement on local taxation in Ghana, some 2000 nose masks have been distributed to 20 MMDAs, which take part in the programme. Total costs at GH¢10,000.
WASH (1) – Urban Sanitation Programme
The Dutch-funded, UNICEF-implemented Urban Sanitation Programme (USP), done in close cooperation with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the municipalities of Ashaiman, Ho, Tamale and (soon) Elmina is perhaps one of the most successful WASH-programmes in Ghana.
WASH is central to managing the COVID crisis; hence, USP has over the last months focused on risk communication (radio, TV, market-sensitising events) disinfection, improvement of WASH-facilities in schools and health centres. Some 30,000 people benefitted from new household latrines and new handwashing facilities. Moreover, some 85 Environmental Health Officers at municipal assemblies received extensive training.
WASH (2) P2P Programme
Within the WASH from Possible 2 Profitable project, loans from the €4million Revolving Fund are given for COVID-related purchases of hygiene products such as handwashing buckets, production of hand sanitiser, detergents, soaps and Personal Protective Equipment like nose masks. This has stimulated more entrepreneurs to venture into WASH businesses as the demand for hygiene products has strongly escalated in the country.
WASH (3) – Ghana Wash Window
Some water enterprises within the Dutch-funded Ghana WASH Window – i.e. Safe Water Network & Access Development – rolled out an anti-COVID- 19 plan in the Western, Eastern and Volta Regions.
For three months, their water stations provided free access and made available soap and handwashing stand. In addition, mechanised boreholes are being built for new district isolation centres. District assemblies get help from GWW in warning communities about COVID-risks, including the production of information material. Some 130 communities and 24 health centres are supported.
WASH (4) – INT Water Management Institute (IWMI) – How to Build Back Better from COVID-19
Apart from all direct and emergency measure needed to fight COVID-19, understanding effects of the response to COVID-19 on water, wastewater and sanitation management in Ghana is crucial.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic teaches us that WASH is essential for our health, our safety and our prosperity. The IMWI study will help to sharpen current WASH-policies to improve water and sanitation in metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies; and hence to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. Contribution estimated at €100,000 (GH¢670,000).
Socio-economic measures (1) – Orange Corners Young Entrepreneurs Programme (GH¢400.000)
The Dutch-funded Orange Corners Programme started in 2019. Orange Corners Ghana, as an acceleration programme, contributes to the vibrant entrepreneurship climate in Ghana by bringing young entrepreneurs with a proven track record to the next level with training for a better knowledge, better skills, better business plans, higher turn-over and hence more jobs. In addition: access to finance. In order to help the 30 participants so far in the OC-Programme to get their businesses through COVID-times, each participant got a grant of €2,000 (some GH¢13,500) each, totalling up to GH¢400,000.