By: Amadu Kamil Sanah, GNA Special Correspondent, New York, USA)
Ghanaians in the United States of America (USA) have expressed their appreciation to the US Government for their support towards the combating of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Ghana.
They are also happy that the US has been the largest contributor to COVAX, a global solution to a global challenge initiative to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, which Ghana was the first of millions to receive the doses this year.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was invited by the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Gavi to participate in the Gavi COVAX AMC One World Protected Launch Event which had more than 100 contributing and beneficiary nations.
The United States was proud to support COVAX, which used only vaccines that have been rigorously tested and proven to be safe and most effective tool in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to some of the Ghanaian residents in New York, Georgia, and New Jersey, they praised the US Government for the valuable support to developing and middle-income countries.
Two residents in Bronx, Mr. Yahuza Alhassan and Mr Kwabena Richard, New York, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that an infectious disease outbreak anywhere was a threat to people everywhere and that the pandemic was one of the most pressing challenges to the health, well-being, and economic security for which the global community must unite to end.
Mr. Alhassan said the world had entered a new phase in the fight to end the pandemic, which seemed highly impossible a year ago, adding, “unprecedented partnerships between governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the private sector have brought several World Health Organization (WHO) – authorized safe, effective, and life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to market, with more pending approval.”
Mr. Richard said the US investments in COVAX support was critical to controlling the pandemic, slowing the emergence of new variants, and helping to restart the global economy, adding, “global access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical to reduce the tragic loss of life, to control and end the pandemic, to mitigate the ongoing health and economic impacts, and to keep people safe across the globe.”
Mr. Yussif Abdul Basit, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia said the US was committed to collaborating with partners, governments, and the private sector to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts and to ensure COVAX’s success.
The US has worked closely with Ghana since the start of the pandemic and has contributed more than $23.6 million in aid of the COVID-19 response in Ghana, in addition to U.S. contributions of over $2 billion to COVAX.
Mr. Abdul Ganiyu Husseini of the Masjid Bilal Inc., Jersey City, New Jersey said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had supported Ghana’s Ministry of Health to train health workers in COVID-19 critical care and to disseminate social and behavior change messages to increase knowledge and awareness around COVID-19, including increasing the number of people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine and deliver life-saving supplies and commodities across the country.
“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided critical technical assistance to strengthen contact tracing, surveillance, and laboratory activities.
Also, the US Department of Defense has coordinated donations of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to aid frontline health care workers as well as testing supplies to increase Ghana’s testing capacity and facilitated the Ghana Armed Forces redeployment of one of the two US-donated state-of-the-art peacekeeping field hospitals into a COVID-19 treatment facility.”
Over the past two decades, the United States has provided more than $140 billion in global health assistance and remain the world’s largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19 and committed to working with Ghana and other partners around the world as they lead the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and launched a sustained and inclusive recovery.
The World Bank Group has rolled out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.
The immediate response included; financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association has made an initial $6 billion available for the health-response.
As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group is deploying up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.