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SEND Ghana calls for increase in domestic funding for immunization; wants Covid levy amended

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Health Senior Programmes Officer at SEND Ghana, Mrs. Harriet Nuamah Agyemang
OCT 28, 2021 LISTEN
Senior Programmes Officer at SEND Ghana, Mrs. Harriet Nuamah Agyemang

Advocacy group, SEND Ghana is calling on government to increase its domestic funding for immunisation as donor support dwindles.

With support from GAVI Learning Network and other international donor partners, Ghana over the years has managed to outperform its target of immunisation coverage.

However, due to limited allocations to the health sector especially in the last five years, it has contributed to default in paying co-financing obligations.

As a result of the arrears in payment accrued, government is now required to pay a total of US$7.8 million to GAVI comprising US6.2 million for 2021 and US1.6 million for 2016 and 2018.

In the wake of all this, Ghana is now required to fully-self finance it's vaccine procurement and routine immunisation from 2026/2027.

Fearing that the implications of low financings after 2026/27 could include resurfacing of childhood diseases like polio, rubella, measles, among others, SEND Ghana has intensified advocacy for stakeholders to push government to invest more in immunisation.

“For us, we think that the government is contributing already to immunization and epidemics, they pay staff and provide infrastructure, that’s okay. But when it comes to the vaccines and some of the logistics we have a huge challenge.

“There are a lot of things needed and so we are calling on the government that we need to find a source of funding domestically to cover that gap that will be created when donor partners eventually pull their funding,” Mrs. Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, a Senior Programmes Officer at SEND Ghana told journalists on the sidelines of a high-level forum on immunisation financing on Thursday, October 28, 2021.

She added, “We should make that deliberate effort to look for that domestic source of fund to cover the gap so that when they leave we as a country are not found wanting.

“If we don’t work towards it we will reverse the gains we have made to the past where measles and yellow fever were the main problems for this country.”

According to Mrs. Agyemang, times will be dire if nothing is done. She said instead of the government only looking at a levy for Covid-19, it should rather create an immunisation levy that will ensure Ghana’s preparedness for any epidemic or pandemic that will come in the future.

SEND Ghana is of the view that there should be an annual allocation of funds in the national budget so that the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) can be fully implemented.

Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo

Journalist

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