BudgIT Ghana, a foremost civic organisation that applies technology to ensure transparency and accountability while intersecting citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change, has launched the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) Report.
Addressing the media at the programme this week, the lead researcher, Mr. Khiddir Iddris, stated that the report looked into the Health Sector Transparency and Accountability, and Vaccine Equity and Distribution Research in Ghana.
This report, he added, sought to outline problems and related emerging issues and measure changes in different transformational epochs to ultimately inform civil society advocacy towards health sector transparency and vaccine equity.
“The CTAP is committed to tracking all resources from the public sector, private, multilateral, and bilateral donors committed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resources expended during the pandemic ranged from grants, donations, loans and material support. The CTAP looks to track all the resources committed to Africa. As we believe this will give us a perspective on the management of COVID-19 funds in Africa,” Mr. Khiddir Iddris said.
He further disclosed that amidst this global health emergency of international concern, multinational institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs)s, INGOs, governments, and development partners were contributing millions of dollars to the fight against COVID-19.
Mr. Khiddir outlined some of the findings of the CTAP Report, stating that: “Ghana has a moderately decentralised and devolved health sector with clearly delineated governance and administrative structures spanning the community level through to the national level.”
He continued that Ghana’s health system faced significant governance challenges, such as inadequate financing for health and health care services; inequitable access to healthcare services, including financial protection; referrals and reverse referrals for primary and specialised care; and keeping the health workforce duly motivated and up to speed on evolving trends.
“The healthcare sector, since independence, has retained a symbiotic relationship with its political economy, showing a positive relationship. Investments and improvements in the sector depend on political stability and its attendant economic growth and development.
This relationship has not been without blemish, as a review of the roles and functions of the healthcare delivery process vis-a-vis the possible abuses revealed inherent risks of corruption, intricately linked to the inelastic demand for healthcare services, among other factors.”
The other finding was that the legal framework of the health sector in Ghana has significantly improved the policy and regulatory environment, which has ensured the comprehensive and timely description of health sector information on the health and health systems status of the country.
These legal frameworks, he said, lend themselves to possible abuse given the vested interest and authority of the President of the Republic in appointing heads of the respective health sector agencies.
“Although Ghana’s healthcare financing system has been found to be generally progressive due to the overall progressivity of taxes, which account for almost 50% of healthcare funding, the system has consistently failed to expend at least 15% of its budget on healthcare-related items as required by the 2001 Abuja Declaration,” he added.
The BudgIT Ghana, according to Mr. Khiddir recommended the following in order to ensure equitable access to healthcare: “Countering vaccine hesitancy and promoting vaccine uptake requires understanding people’s motivation, or the lack of it, to be vaccinated, their willingness or unwillingness to do so, and their subjective norms such as religious and moral convictions.”
Again, it was recommended that though access and vaccine availability are no longer hesitancy drivers, the drive for advocacy should aim at bringing the vaccines to the doorstep of the Ghanaian citizenry through incorporating COVID-19 vaccinations into routine vaccine programmes and deepening the institution of national COVID vaccination day campaigns.