Government has been urged to prioritize the establishment of an Epidemic Fund as it prepares to present the 2022 national budget.
According to a non-governmental organization, SEND-Ghana, such a fund would help the country raise financial resources to tackle epidemic outbreaks in the country.
SEND-GHANA made the call in Accra on Monday, at a day`s workshop training for journalists on financing epidemic preparedness and response in Ghana.
The programme was organized in partnership with Global Health Advocacy Incubator, a health advocacy NGO.
The training sought to equip journalists with the requisite skills to advocate better and improve healthcare financing, to promote quality healthcare delivery in the country.
The Deputy Country Director of SEND-GHANA, Dr. Emmanuel Ayifah said prioritizing budgetary allocation for epidemic preparedness would strengthen the health systems in times of eventualities.
He said the country over years had been experiencing epidemics such as cholera, and there was the need for the government to step up efforts to mobilize domestic financial resources to build the country’s capacity to withstand shocks from epidemic outbreaks.
“Government must not wait for epidemics to break before groping and searching for financial resources both locally and internationally to deal with the problem,” he added.
Dr. Ayifa suggested that government should task district health facilities that generated funds internally to allocate some percentage of such funds to the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies towards epidemic preparedness financing.
The Country Coordinator of Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Mr Stephen Atasige said the poor financing of the country’s Public Health systems, starved health facilities from procuring basic and necessary health supplies, to forestall and control epidemic outbreaks.
For instance, he said a lot of people were killed in the Upper West Region during a recent outbreak of meningitis in the area.
Mr. Atasige attributed the high meningitis deaths in the Upper West to slow response due to the unavailability of funds to tackle the problem.
“Meningitis is seasonal, so if we have ready funding, we don’t need to wait for it to happen, we can quickly go in for the funding, mobilize the necessary resources to tackle the problem,” he stated.
He called on the government to appreciate the need to dedicate a fund for epidemic prevention in the annual national budget while urging the media to be advocates and push the government to increase funding for epidemic prevention.