Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-designate, has received the credentials of Dr Francis Kasolo, the newly appointed World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Ghana.
During the meeting, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism and expressed the willingness of Ghana to support the WHO and other international organisations in efforts to address emerging health issues.
She said the Government attached immense importance to the health sector and had undertaken several initiatives to improve healthcare.
She cited drone delivery service, which rapidly delivered emergency and essential vaccines, life-saving medications, and blood products, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
She said the services of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) had improved significantly under the Government.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey applauded the phenomenal leadership role of the WHO in combatting health crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
She commended the collaborative efforts of the WHO and the World Food Programme (WFP) in the establishment of the United Nations COVID-19 Field Hospital in Accra as part of the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan for the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said Ghana’s acceptance to host the Field Hospital was a demonstration of commitment to join hands with the global community to tackle emerging health challenges.
The Minister-designate lauded the excellent collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the WHO in the running of the Field Hospital and expressed appreciation for opportunities for knowledge transfer and capacity-building.
She said the Government’s immediate focus was on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and urged the WHO to assist in that regard.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey expressed fears that the reported cases of Ebola in some African countries, particularly the Republic of Guinea, would impose an additional burden on the limited resources to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
She recalled Ghana’s leadership role in the fight against Ebola in the sub-region in the recent past and pledged Ghana’s preparedness to support regional and global efforts to stop the spread of Ebola.
She acknowledged the contribution of Dr Kasolo’s predecessor, Dr Neema Kimambo, in support of the Government’s efforts to address various health issues and the deepening of Ghana’s partnership with the WHO.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey expressed optimism that the experiences acquired by Dr Kasolo in the Africa region would prove beneficial in the current fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana, as well as facilitate national response in the event of an Ebola case in the country.
She assured Dr Kasolo of the Government’s support and cooperation to advance the work of the WHO in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good health and Well-being).
Dr Kasolo, on his part, recalled that Ghana was one of the first countries on the African continent to join the WHO in 1958, and had since been a very active member of the Organisation.
He said the WHO Secretariat had continued to work very closely with Ghana in line with the policy objective of the National Health Policy and
the Ghana Roadmap for attaining universal health coverage 2020-2023.