The World Bank has approved $200 million as additional funding for the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (EPRP).
The money will enable the government to procure vaccines through the COVAX facility and deploy them for 13 million people.
The project will strengthen the resilience of Ghana’s health systems to better prepare for future pandemics and secure the continuation of essential health and nutritional services, including routine childhood immunisation.
This is the second funding the World Bank has extended to Ghana under its fast-track package to enable developing countries to strengthen their COVID-19 responses.
The first was a $100-million support in April last year to assist the country to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic as a short, medium and long-term support.
That financing package included $35 million in emergency support to help Ghana provide improved response systems.
Under the emergency package, Ghana was supported to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the EPRP.
Ghana experienced a surge in infections and fatalities in January 2021, when it entered a second wave of rising infections of COVID-19.
The number of daily active cases in February 2021 was as high as the peak of the first wave in June 2020. Furthermore, Ghana was confirmed to have recorded the COVID-19 variant which first appeared in South Africa.
“The World Bank is happy to support this second additional financing, given the importance of preventing deaths and reducing transmission of COVID-19 among the population by providing access to COVID-19 vaccines towards accelerating economic and social recovery in Ghana,” the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Mr Pierre Laporte, said in a statement issued in Washington, DC, USA.
“We are also aware of the continuing difficulties in having access to COVID-19 vaccines and logistics due to global vaccine market challenges and will continue to work to address the inequity in vaccine supplies that is impacting Ghana and other developing countries.
“The Ghana COVID-19 EPRP second additional financing will enable the country to explore the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines from a range of sources to support Ghana’s target to vaccinate 17.5 million people in a way that ensures value for money,” he added.
The bank said the project would also support an equitable and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, in line with Ghana’s National Vaccine Deployment Plan.
“The project will build on efforts of the existing Ghana COVID-19 EPRP by scaling up and strengthening surveillance of the pandemic, case management, increasing public acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 vaccine deployment,” the
World Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice Manager for the West African Region, Gaston Sorgho, said.
He added that it would help strengthen cold chain equipment, vaccine safety monitoring and medical waste management.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed over $125 billion to fight the health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in the bank’s history.
The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen their pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs and jump-start a climate-friendly recovery.
The bank is also providing $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.