Raising awareness, promoting safety and protecting essential services

For Ghana, COVID-19 is exacerbating poverty and disproportionately impacting the poor and vulnerable. Economic growth has slowed and the job market has been hit hard – 77% of the population reported a drop in household income in the first three months of the pandemic. The crisis also threatens to disrupt the provision of essential health services due to barriers to service supply and demand.

In order to contain the virus, guard against risks such as increased maternal and child mortality, and to safely reopen socio-economic activities and schools, the IDA-supported programGhana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Projecthas been approved. The project uses a cross-sectoral approach, bringing together line ministries, technical agencies and other World Bank projects in the areas of education, social protection and employment, water and sanitation. sanitation and digital development.

To build trust and quickly spread information about the pandemic, the project supported extensive nationwide awareness campaigns in sign language, local languages ​​and even Braille. Call centers and COVID-19 information centers have been established in all 16 regions of the country. And communication caravans have been deployed to disseminate information on preventive measures and where to seek treatment.

To contain the virus and expand the capacity of the laboratory system, streamlined digital solutions for timely case detection, diagnosis and notification have been introduced. As a result, the number of national laboratories increased from two to 16 in less than a year and a total of 925,611 tests were carried out.

In Accra, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, contact tracing capacity has been boosted by training 1,340 surveillance officers in the first three months of the project. In addition, 21 treatment centers and 129 intensive care unit beds have been created to treat cases. The project also provided psychosocial support, wheelchairs and protective equipment to more than 20,000 people with disabilities.

These interventions have enabled the continuity of delivery of essential health and nutrition services, despite ongoing public health crises. With the introduction of infection prevention and control measures, socio-economic activities, health facilities and schools were able to reopen safely.

Now, with continued IDA support, the government can focus on rolling out COVID-19 vaccines nationwide, establishing a national center for disease control, and promoting equal access to vaccines. routine primary health care services to improve the health of all citizens. .

Michelle J. Kelley