Parliament approves $700,000 for coronavirus patients – Minority says it’s inadequate

Parliament has approved an amount of $700,000 for Covid-19 patients, as part of a $35 million World Bank loan.
James Klutse Avedzi

Parliament has approved an amount of $700,000 for Covid-19 patients, as part of a $35 million World Bank loan.

The $700,000 amount will be used to provide support for the families of those who are isolated or quarantined.

The support, according to a report of the Finance Committee of Parliament, will include psychological counselling, food baskets and feeding during isolation, quarantine and treatment period.

It will also include fee waivers to access medical care and cash transfers to mitigate the loss of household income due to job losses that may result from the closure of firms, enterprises, informal businesses, and government agencies during the Covid-19 outbreak.

$3.6 million of the amount will be invested in strengthening the country’s health care system including training and capacity building for health staff and training of contact tracing teams.

Another $3.4 million will be used to strengthen multi-sector national institutions and platforms for policy development; and support institutional and organisational restructuring to respond to emergencies such as pandemic diseases.

Support will also be provided to develop standardised life insurance package, overtime and hazard payments for those who will be directly involved in surveillance and case management.

$7.4 million will also be spent on community engagement and risk communication with emphasis on broadcast and communication support materials including billboards, and documentaries.

$2.7 million will be invested in implementation management, monitoring and evaluation.

$4.5 million of the amount will be spent on case detection, confirmation, contact tracing, as well as strengthen disease surveillance at the points of entry.

Another $12.7 million will be spent on containment, isolation and treatment, including leasing, renting, establishment and refurbishing of designated facilities and centers to contain and treat cases in a timely manner.

Deputy Minority Leader, James Avedzi, told a media briefing in Parliament House the amount is not enough.

“We all know there are many people at home. You are budgeting only about GH¢4 million. Why have you allocated only US$700,000 to support households whilst investing over $7million to contact tracing,” Mr. Avedzi said.

The US$35 million loan is part of a $100 million facility for the Ghana Covid-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project.

The Finance Committee’s report says the rest of the $65 million will come from the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the existing World Bank-supported Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) project.

The $35 million from the International Development Association of the World Bank Group has a 33.23% grant component.

It is coming at an interest rate of 1.25% per annum, a service charge of 0.75% per annum plus a maximum commitment charge of 0.5% per annum. There will be a five-year grace period before payment begins. The repayment period is 25 years.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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