New Country Representative promises to deepen existing collaboration between Ghana and the WHO
The Country Representative for WHO Ghana, Dr. Francis Chisaka Kasolo has promised to deepen existing collaboration between Ghana and the WHO. He gave this assurance when he presented his letter of credence to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey in Accra.
In a brief statement, Dr. Kasolo on behalf of the WHO thanked the government Ghana for the long standing relationship. He said Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to join WHO in 1958 and has since been a very active member of the organization, contributing not only through collaboration but various human and financial resource investments as well.
Touching on some strong areas of partnership, Dr. Kasolo said the WHO continues to work closely with Ghana and have supported in developing the National Health Policy and the Ghana Roadmap towards Universal Health Coverage 2020-2023 document, which according to him, is the cornerstone of attaining the UN SDG 3. He further commended the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo for contributing to the development of the Global Action Plan as well as being one of the key initiators of this plan.
Dr. Kasolo pledged WHO’s continued support in the Covid-19 fight but in line with country policies and with other partners to ensure that transmission is interrupted for Ghana to return to accelerated prosperity.
Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey, in her subsequent submission outlined some health interventions and initiatives the government has launched since being in office as: improvement in the NHIS coverage and effectiveness, the launch of a National Drone System to offer a drone-enabled supply chain solution that would ensure secure, reliable and timely deliveries of essential health care products to hospitals and other health facilities, Government health infrastructure project: Agenda 111, and many; affirming the importance her government attaches to health issues.
Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey also disclosed that the Food and Drug Authority had approved some COVID-19 vaccines adding that over 20 million was needed for the country to have herd immunity to reduce the infection rate and deaths and was hopeful that government would take delivery of the first batch in no time. She however expressed worry about richer nations seeming neglect of developing countries in discussions around access to vaccines and appealed to WHO to assist in the procurement of vaccines for such countries including Ghana.
The Honorable Minister also used the opportunity to appeal to the WHO to provide adequate support to fight the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea since countries are already under enormous economic stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She further acknowledged the phenomenal leadership WHO has shown in the COVID-19 fight and called for support to help Africans develop their own vaccines since Africans were capable.
Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey indicated that the government of Ghana accepted to host the UN hospital because it believed in cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and is of the firm belief that, there would be knowledge and technological transfer to Ghanaian health professionals after the pandemic is over.
She pledged her full support to Dr. Kasolo to make his duty tour to Ghana a success.
Dr. Francis Chisaka Kasolo is an infectious disease physician with specialization in clinical virology. He has worked with WHO in various capacities for the past 18 years. Prior to his new appointment, Dr. Kasolo was a Director in the office of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, responsible for advising the Regional Director on policy and strategic issues pertaining to the work of WHO.
Dr. Kasolo also served as Director for Ebola Preparedness with the United Nations Mission on Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) in Accra in 2014.