Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Aryokor Botchwey has lamented about the unavailability of vaccines as a result of vaccine nationalism that has left most developing and least developed countries in a precarious and vulnerable state.
According to her, the current state were many developed countries have excess vaccines and are still holding on to it leaving developing countries in a deplorable state is one that needs world attention.
For her, until the world achieves herd immunity, no one is safe; expressing optimism that the global discourse and initiatives would soon result in a positive vaccine distribution outcome.
She made this known when she received a farewell call from the representative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for Ghana, Rukia Yacoub.
The minister observed that Covid-19 is having a major impact on livelihoods and food security across the globe, and note that women and people who work in informal sectors of the economy were the most affected and welcomed the joint effort of the WFP and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to transfer money to 75,000 Ghanaians, whose income sources have been affected due to the incidence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yacoub Work in Ghana
The Country representative assumed this position in May, 2017, having previously worked as WFP Deputy Country Director in Yemen for five (5) months in 2014 and served in a similar capacity in Egypt from 2009-2014.
She brought to the position, a wealth of experience in implementing, managing and coordinating humanitarian and development programmes, both in least developed and lower-middle income countries. Her development work in Egypt, a lower middle-income country, was particularly relevant to Ghana at the stage of the country’s development.
The Minister during the meeting expressed appreciation for the excellent role Ms Yacoub played in fostering close cooperation between the Government of Ghana and the WFP during her tenure.
Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey observed that notwithstanding the complex challenges posed to national development systems by the COVID-19 pandemic, WFP and WHO explored avenues to scale impediments to shared aspirations for the deepening of cooperation.
She refered to the collaborative efforts of the WFP/WHO in their swift response to the humanitarian and health crises and the consequent building of the field Hospital in Ghana and averred that in appreciation of the gravity of the threats posed by the pandemic, Ghana readily welcomed the proposition by the WFP and WHO to ensure success in the global fight against the pandemic.
The Minister recalled Ghana’s experience in facilitating humanitarian response, in which she undertook a leadership role in the fight against Ebola in the sub-region. While many countries, including those known to have resilient health systems, closed their borders to the affected West African countries due to fear of the debilitating epidemic, Ghana, was among the few countries that maintained open borders during that outbreak.
She expressed appreciation for the successful, though extensive, discussions that culminated if a mutually acceptable agreement and the consequent establishment of the Covid-19 Field Hospital that was funded by the WFP and currently being manned by WHO.
She applauded the award of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to the WFP which was in acknowledgment of the organisation’s efforts to combat hunger, its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
She acknowledged the sustained role of the WFP in upholding the right to food in Ghana and working in close concert with Government agencies to ensure that there was access to food in all households, particularly for those in the rural areas.