From left: Dr. Kofi Issah, Anne-Claire Dufay, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, H.E. Tsutomu Himeno, Hon Alhaji Asei Seini Mahama, Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye.

Story by Joseph A. Coffie |Ghana News Desk|


This ceremony was attended by, His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, The Ambassador of the Republic of Japan to Ghana, The Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, UNICEF Representative to Ghana, Representative of JICA, Development Partners and some Directors of the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Emmanuel Ankrah Odame, Director of Policy Planning and Monitoring Evaluation at the Ministry of Health gladly welcomed all dignitaries on behalf of the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari to this ceremony. 

Dr. Emmanuel Odame on behalf of the Chief Director, noted that,  "The Governments of Japan and Ghana have a long-standing partnership in our development efforts. As part of an ongoing strategic partnership to shore up COVID-19 vaccinations and population immunity in the country, the Government of Japan has contributed US$1 million to procure ultra-cold chain equipment to store COVID-19 vaccines at low temperatures under the COVID-19 Crisis Response and Emergency Support Project".

He said, "The investment will also ensure capacity building and training of over 140 health staff on how to operate and maintain the cold chain equipment and monitor the COVID-19 vaccines distribution. To reduce the risk of malnutrition in the pandemic, over 120,000 children have benefitted from micro-nutrient powders to reduce anemia. Over 400 sets of training materials on Infant and Young Child Feeding and Infection Prevention and Control have been printed and distributed to health centers through support from Japan and UNICEF. Since the start of the pandemic, essential services have been provided for over 530,000 women and children by the trained health workers. Health workers have also been trained to provide quality maternal and child health care in Ghana. 

These are just but a few areas where the Government of Japan and UNICEF have supported the health sector of Ghana. 

Dr. Odame stated on behalf of the Chief Director, "I am optimistic that the Governments of Ghana and Japan together with UNICEF will continue to work to improve the lives of children and families in Ghana. And " I look forward to a fruitful deliberation as we work collaboratively to strengthen health systems and increase resilience against future shocks."

Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu,
Minister of Health

The Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu also stated in his keynote address that, "The Ministry of Health recognizes and appreciates the immense support the Japanese Government and our Development partners continue to provide towards our Universal Health Coverage Drive and strengthening the Ghanaian health system specifically the COVID-19 response of Ghana". 

The Minister indicates that, they have had along and successful relationship with the Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNICEF in the implementation of various initiatives related to improving the health of Ghanaians. 

He said, "as a sector we have benefitted immensely from Technical Support and grant aid provided under these partnerships."

Notable amongst the projects and programmes are

1.Support to the Universal Health Coverage drive of Ghana

2.Support to Ghana’s COVID-19 response

3.Support to the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research

4.Strengthening Community Based Health Planning and Services

5.Improving maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health services including the

introduction of the maternal and child health record books

6.Support to our nutrition drive

7.Supporting the development and launch of the National Health Policy

8.Support to the development of the WASH strategy

The Minister stated that, Ghana has defined Universal Health Coverage as:“All people in Ghana

having timely access to high quality health services irrespective of ability to pay at the

point of use.” with a goal of increased access to quality legality are and public health services for all by 2030.

He said, The objectives are:

a. Universal access to better and efficiently managed quality Primary Health Care Services

b.To reduce unnecessary maternal, adolescent and child death sand disabilities.

c.Increased access to responsive clinical and public health emergency services

"We see this support will help accelerate the implementation of our first objective."

"We are aware that most of these programs implemented with the support received from the Government of Japan and UNICEF have accelerated our progress towards attaining our Universal health goals especially in improving access to quality health services, including maternal and child health services. The continuity of maternal and child health services were not greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of the earlier investments that had been made". Noted by the Minister.

Mr. Elorm Ametepe
Head of PR, MoH

"Access to health services has also been enhanced in several regions and districts with the support provided towards strengthening our CHPS services especially in the 5 Northern Regions of Ghana.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to testing facilities were also enhanced with the

support provided to the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research which placed the Institute at the fore of the detection of the virus in Ghana’s response even before other facilities were brought onboard. The recently installed COVID-19 testing and diagnostic machine at the Eastern Regional Hospital has contributed to the testing capacity for Ghana and reduced the waiting period for test results from several days to a few hours".

Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Minister of Health indicates that, they are also aware of the upcoming grant to enhance our COVID-19 response with the

provision of ultra-cold chain equipment for vaccine storage. This declaration of support for Ghana to improve vaccine storage capacity in line with Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccination agenda is greatly welcome as Government continues to mobilize resources towards the procurement of vaccines for our COVID response. This feat will not only improve our vaccines to rage infrastructure but will also increase access and expand the scope and variety of vaccines that can be made available to Ghanaians as we race towards attaining herd immunity. We aim to vaccinate 20million (60%) of Ghanaians so as to achieve herd immunity. So far, a little over1.2 million Ghanaians have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 out of the 20 million target defined in our National Vaccine Deployment Plan".

"The Government of Ghana is appreciative of the immense contributions of the Government of Japan and UNICEF towards improvements in our health system and pledge to efficiently utilize there sources to achieve our vaccination goals."

"On this note, I thank you on behalf of the Government of Ghana and look forward to continued collaboration between the Government of Ghana, the Government of  Japan and UNICEF to improve the lives of all people living in Ghana". Stated by the Minister Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu.

Anne-Claire Dufay
UNICEF Representative

The UNICEF Representative, Anne-Claire Dufay, in her remarks stated that, "it is with a tremendous honour that I represent UNICEF today to celebrate the successes in our long-term partnership with the Government of Ghana and Japan."

She said, they are also here to look ahead and explore more opportunities to give every child in Ghana a fair chance in life.

She also said that, UNICEF would like to commend the Ministry of Health and Ghana health service for their strong leadership and commitment during the covid-19 pandemic.

She said there has been major challenges to maintain essential health and nutrition service delivery during the early months of the crisis, you have stepped up to this daunting task.

Support from the Government of Japan has been significantly contributing to this achievement.

Anne-Claire Dufay stated that it has helped strengthen the country's capacity to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients through training on infection prevention and control, and the procurement of diagnostic equipment. A PCR machine has become operational at the Eastern Region Hospital and More than 7,000 health workers were trained.

In addition, she said, "thanks to the people of Japan, UNICEF will now procure and ship ultra-cold chain equipment to Ghana, which is essential for some vaccines to be store and deeply covid-19 vaccines to reach greater population immunity".

Anne-Claire Dufay noted that, as part of the UN country Team in Ghana, UNICEF is delighted to work closely with the Governments of Ghana and Japan, and other partners, to boost progress towards Hniversal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals.

H.E. Tsutomu Himeno
Japanese Ambassador to Ghana

His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, Japanese Ambassador also stated that, Government of Japan is happy to be part of this, keeping people away from disease is important and people can be happy if they can contribute to national building development, therefore they're happy to contribute.

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