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COVID-19 Trust fund accrues over GH¢62m

BY: Doreen Andoh & Jemima Okang Addae
Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Trust Fund, addressing the press conference. Picture: MAXWELL OCLOO
Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Trust Fund, addressing the press conference. Picture: MAXWELL OCLOO

The National COVID-19 Trust Fund had, since its inception on March 27, 2020, accrued cash of GHÐ62,329,941.98 as of June this year.

The fund was set up by an Act of Parliament (Act 1013) to help mobilise funds to be used in complementing the government’s efforts at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board Chair and former Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, made this known at a media engagement on the platform of the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday to give an account of inflows and expenditure of the fund so far.

She said out of the amount, the fund had disbursed GH¢53,230,805.37 for procurement and administrative purposes. She said the fund also received donations in kind, including items such as hand sanitiser, personal protective equipment, cleansing equipment, tinned food, liquid soap, rice, pasta and vehicles.

“The fund received a substantial quantity of PPE, laboratory supplies, non-perishable food items (tinned food, biscuits, rice, noodles/pasta), fuel coupons, mechanical and solar handwashing basins, two oil paintings depicting the fight against the pandemic and vehicles (saloon cars, pick-ups and ambulance),” she said.

She said the sources of the funds and in-kind donations were the public, corporate bodies (public, private), religious organisations, civil society organisations and other social groups. Justice Akuffo said all contributions were voluntary, based on public appeals made by the fund and evidence of the impact the fund had on the lives of vulnerable people, as well as its contribution to health services in the management of the COVID-19.

Some beneficiaries 

The National COVID-19 Trust Fund has presented over GH¢1.8 million to the Centre for Plant Medicine and Research (CPMR) for research into the development of herbal products against the SARS COVID-Two virus and the COVID-19 virus, she said.

Justice Akuffo said the trust fund bought PPE amounting to about GH¢10,257,360 and distributed it to 56 regional, municipal and district hospitals, COVID-19 care management, isolation and eight testing centres and 126 CHPS compounds across the country.

She said the fund also contributed GH¢6,801,840 to the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund (GCPSF) for the construction of the 100-bed National Infectious Diseases Centre at the Ga East Municipal Hospital, which was inaugurated on July 24, 2020.

She explained that the fund supported the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with GH¢2,500,000 to purchase 50 PA systems, 10 cross-country pick-ups and 14 laptops for its regional and district offices and repaired 70 existing vehicles, with the objective of heightening public education on and awareness of the pandemic.

She said additionally, the NCCE received GH¢646,000 to support a nationwide public education and sensitisation campaign on COVID-19. Justice Akuffo said the fund also supported the rehabilitation of the Pantang Hospital, which saw the facility equipped with an isolation centre, at a cost of GH¢806,600, and also donated a ventilator costing US$30,000 to the hospital.

She said the fund purchased reagents and laboratory supplies for the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Ghana Health Service, priced at GH¢5,570,882, while the Veterinary Services Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture received GH¢1,984,200. “The Nationwide Reopening of Educational Institutions Coordinating Committee also received GH¢8,000,000 to support tertiary institutions to purchase PPE, Veronica buckets and other related items.

“The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana received GH¢297,920 to conduct a national survey on the impact of the pandemic on households in Ghana,” she said.

Justice Akuffo said that was to help identify the extremely vulnerable households and provide them with funding support. On the Judicial Service, she explained that the trust fund procured PPE of worth GH¢815,400.00 and supported the Bono Regional Coordinating Council to resource the Council in settling bills relating to the mandatory quarantine of a group of 42 Ghanaian deportees from Côte d’Ivoire which also cost GH¢210,030.00.

“We gave GH¢47,718.00 to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to construct a holding unit to equip gamma irradiation facility to fully manage the processing and sterilization of PPE across the country” she mentioned.

GH¢200,000 to broadcast “Corona Life” – an educational television, web (social media) and radio series on the COVID-19 pandemic, with emphasis on the observance of protocols, etc.

She said the trust fund gave Healthcare Federation Ghana and Medlab Services Ghana Ltd GH¢114,200 for the development of a COVID-19 Laboratory Information System (LIS) at the NMIMR for public testing laboratories.

It also distributed GH¢3,963,500 among 7,927 identifi ed poor and vulnerable people across the country who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the ARB Apex Bank, with each beneficiary receiving GH¢500 each. All those organisations and individual beneficiaries were identified through the survey conducted by ISSER, she said.

She said in 2021, the fund procured PPE worth GH¢1,000,000 for 11 clinics across the country. “It supported the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine with GH¢624,656.12 to conduct research into the prevalence and nature of the COVID-19 virus in the country.

The second phase of the nationwide public education and sensitisation campaign by the NCCE cost the fund GH¢525,250. “At the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, the fund supported the laying of pipelines to connect the hospital’s oxygen plant to its COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit and Holding Bay, at a cost of GH¢314,032.62,” she said.

Writer’s email: [email protected] com.gh