The Ministry of Health, with support from the government of South Korea, has purchased 286,725 units of COVID-19 testing and vaccination supplies to help improve on the national response to the pandemic.
The items are 63,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) diagnostic test kits; 63,000 COVID-19 PCR swabs; 150,000 syringes, 10,625 safety boxes and 100 vaccine carriers at the cost of $748,000.
The funding, a grant through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), was initially meant for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to support the vaccination drive in the country.
However, with the consent of the donor, the funds have been rechannelled for the purchase of the medical supplies.
At a ceremony to hand over part of the items to the Ministry of Health in Accra last Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the grant was reprogrammed due to global vaccine supply chain challenges.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, KOICA supported the response of Ghana through donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies. KOICA also provided a grant aid of $747,500 for the procurement of vaccines to support the COVID-19 vaccination agenda in Ghana,” the minister said.
“However, due to the global COVID-19 vaccines supply chain challenges, the ministry and KOICA agreed to re-programme the grant aid for the procurement of other COVID-19 response items which are equally important for the national response strategy,” Mr Agyeman-Manu said.
The minister added that currently, the ministry had taken delivery of the PCR test kits and swabs, adding that the rest of the items had also been shipped and would be distributed when they arrive.
He said the ministry was currently collaborating with two active Korean government agencies in the health sector; the KOICA and the Korea Foundation for KOFIH, which were both the ministry’s bilateral partners to improve maternal and child health outcomes.
The Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Lim Jung-taek, who handed over the items to the minister, congratulated the government on its exemplary leadership in the national response to COVID-19.
“As of the time the government of Korea and Ghana signed the grant, only 1.2 million vaccines had been administered in Ghana. Today, the number has grown exponentially to 13.1 million.
“The country has also started observing a decline in the infection rate and thus, welcoming a series of policies which aim at easing the various restrictions and bring normalcy into our daily lives as announced by President Akufo-Addo on March 27, 2022,” Mr Jung-taek said.
He said the gesture would further strengthen the 45 years of bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He said the Korean diagnostics kit utilised advanced technology that would enable the local laboratories to detect the various COVID-19 variants in any sample taken.
Mr Jung-taek said South Korea aimed at continuously tailoring its support to meet needs of its partners such as Ghana, as the country transitioned from the active phase of the pandemic as data suggested.
The Country Director of KOICA, Mooheon Kong, said as long as healthcare remained core to the mandate of KOICA, its local office was committed to partnering the government in its quest to achieve universal healthcare targets.