Ghana Ebola funding hit by GH¢50m shortfall; Govt appeals for international support

Government has launched an urgent appeal for international support to meet a shortfall of almost GH¢50 million to fund Ghana’s Ebola preparedness efforts.

Ahead of an ECOWAS Heads of State mini summit on the disease on Thursday, health officials have revealed they have only managed to raise GH¢24 million out of a budget of nearly GH¢80 million.

The appeal for international support ran through speeches made by President Mahama, his ministers and members of the inter-ministerial committee on the disease at an emergency national stakeholders meeting Tuesday in Accra.

Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Badu Sarkodie, said Ghana urgently needs support of the international community because problems with the deadly disease that has claimed more than 4,000 lives in three countries in West Africa is not just a national issue.

But he adds: “the call is also for everybody: individuals; it is a call to partners, agencies”.

Dr Sarkodie further explained that the need for additional funds has become urgent because costs for logistics to fight the disease “keeps going high”.

Citing the Ebola isolation centre in Tema as an example, Dr Sarkodie said although GH¢100,000 was budgeted for the project, the final cost ran into almost  GH¢1 million.

According to the Head of Disease Surveillance at GHS, key issues like the comfort of doctors who will be taking care of patients in case of an outbreak is another reason the country needs international support.

But government’s call for international support to fund its Ebola preparedness is certain to hit a snag.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently launched an urgent appeal for funds to help fight the disease after a UN drive for donations fell short of its target.

The UN chief said a $ 1 billion trust fund he launched in September has received just $ 100,000 so far.

He joins a growing chorus of world leaders criticising global effort to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

The disease has killed about four thousand 500 people mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Although several countries across the world have pledged to support the struggle to contain Ebola, few have matched their pledges with donations.

Donors have given almost $400 million but the trust fund itself has received pledges of just $20 million and only Colombia has paid so far.

  Story by Ghana | | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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