US signs pact to support Ghana achieve Universal Health Coverage

The United States (US) has signed a multilateral agreement to support Ghana’s goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage. The Memorandum of Cooperation, involving two Asian giants, the Republic of Korea and Japan, was signed at an event hosted by Ghana’s Ministry of Health. It is expected that the three countries’ shared commitment will enhance primary health care and strengthen health security defences, particularly against current and future pandemic threats. ‘The agreement signed today will help align individual countries’ efforts, allowing each to focus on comparative strengths in support of Ghana’s public health institutions.’ This was contained in a statement issued by the US State Department, copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Accra. The multilateral partnership comes at a time when the world is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many countries backsliding in some essential health services. The statement assured of the US’ commitment to working with its global partners to invest in primary health care and global health security. ‘No country can afford to stand alone during a pandemic. ‘COVID-19 showed us the power of strategic partnership with our allies to build a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous world. ‘We are proud to join Japan and the Republic of Korea in this partnership to achieve Universal Coverage in Ghana,’ the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, noted. Per the Memorandum of Cooperation, the three countries will leverage their individual expertise and resources to support three key health priorities in Ghana. The target areas are primary health care, health governance at the sub-national level (regions and districts), and global health security. The statement said the terms of references would be executed through the parties’ respective development agencies – the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). ‘The partnership will build on Ghana’s primary health care system – the Community-Based Health Planning and Services and health centres to strengthen the quality of health services,’ it explained. On the strategic importance of the agreement, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mochizuki Hisanobu, said: ‘This MOC is the first of its kind between all parties and we aim to contribute further to the achievement of universal health coverage in Ghana with USAID and KOICA.’ On the part of the Republic of Korea, the agreement reaffirms its unwavering commitment to supporting Ghana to achieve its health development agenda. ‘We will work hand in hand with our esteemed partners to improve primary health care services, ensuring that they are easily accessible and of the highest quality,’ said the Republic of Korea Ambassador to Ghana, Jung-taek Lim. In line with the project, the US, through USAID, plans to invest up to US$135 million through to 2027, subject to appropriate approvals. KOICA will also invest approximately US$23 million, and JICA will invest its technical and financial resources as approvals are obtained. The agreement comes at a pivotal time when public health experts are focusing on building capacity for the next epidemic or pandemic, yet health indicators including global life expectancy and childhood vaccinations are slipping. Investments in primary health care and global health security, therefore, are critical to allow countries to rebuild their health systems and prepare for current and future health emergencies.

Source: Ghana News Agency