- Launches report on healthcare accountability and vaccine equity
Government must strive toward attaining the Abuja Declaration of expending, at least, 15 percent of GDP on healthcare to close the gap in health financing, Country Director of BudgIT Ghana, Felix Ankrah, has recommended.
He said there is a need for authorities to deepen the implementation of relevant legal provisions that allow for citizens to participate in health policy design and implementation.
Mr. Ankrah was addressing dignitaries at the organisation’s launch of two studies on Ghana’s Health Sector Transparency and Accountability and Vaccine Equity and Distribution Research in the country.
BudgIT Ghana, a civic organisation, applies technology to ensure transparency and accountability while intersecting citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change.
The two studies, which were conducted in 17 communities across the country according to Mr Ankrah, sought to outline problems and related emerging issues, and measure changes in different transformational epochs to ultimately inform civil society advocacy toward health sector transparency and vaccine equity.
“Ghana’s allocation to healthcare currently stands at 7 percent of the national budget, despite provisions of the Abuja Declaration which stipulate 15 percent. There must be concerted efforts to at least reach 10 percent in the near future.” Mr. Ankrah noted.
The study on Vaccine Equity and Distribution Research in Ghana by the organisation revealed that government adopted an all-government approach in its response to the pandemic, in which the Inter-Ministerial National Coordinating Committee (NCC) was responsible for planning and coordination for COVID-19 preparedness and response, while the National Technical Coordinating Committee (NTCC) served as a technical expert committee in monitoring the implementation and the National Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) as the fulcrum for preparedness and coordinating response activities if an outbreak was declared.
It also disclosed that Vaccine hesitancy (due to the lack of access and unavailability of the COVID-19 vaccines; etiology of the disease interlacing with the country’s population dynamics to mitigate against significant uptake of the vaccines; the inverse relationship between vaccine stocks and disease incidence and the religiosity of vaccination) is becoming a source of concern to health authorities and civil societies.
The study recommended that though access and vaccine availability are no longer hesitancy drivers, the drive for advocacy should aim at bringing the vaccines to doorsteps of the Ghanaian citizenry through incorporating COVID-19 vaccinations into routine vaccine programmes, and deepening the institution of national COVID-19 vaccination day campaigns.