Although the Coronavirus pandemic has increased government expenditure and negatively affected revenue generation, it offers an opportunity to improve on existing health infrastructure, Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has said.
He said despite the pandemic posing a serious challenge to government quest to meet its budgetary demands, giant strides have been made to improve health sector, including agenda 111 which is aimed at equipping hospitals in all new districts and regions of the country.
The minister, in a speech read on his behalf at the CelebrateLab West Africa Conference 2021 in Accra, said the agenda 111 is by far the highest investment in the sector and that when completed, the initiative will not only serve the health needs of the country but provide employment for health professionals.
Apart from this, he said the country has used the pandemic to ensure that public health preparedness meet global standards for disease control and prevention.
Explaining further, he said government has partnered the private sector to establish the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre and that plans are far advanced to replicate the centres in the middle and northern sectors of the country, adding: “For us, the COVID-19 pandemic has just accelerated the vision of the government to improve upon existing health infrastructure.”
CelebrateLab West Africa Conference 2021
The event, which is an annual meeting for laboratory professionals in West Africa, was themed: ‘combating emerging and re-emerging Infections through standardisation of laboratory practice across West Africa’. It brought together various stakeholders in the sector including laboratory scientists, healthcare service providers and professionals and government agencies and officials.
Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General, Ghana Health Service, commenting on the theme said: “It is very timely, not only because of the current pandemic, but also the opportunity that the outbreak provides us to take another look at our health systems as a region and find ways of working together to strengthen them.”
For his part, Dr. Abudu Rahamani, President of Ghana Association of Medical Laboratories Scientists, said the pandemic has been devastating but has also created an opportunity for practice of medical laboratory science in West Africa.