US allies sign pact to aid Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage. In a significant development, the United States (US) has signed a multilateral agreement to bolster Ghana’s efforts towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The Memorandum of Cooperation, which includes participation from two Asian powerhouses, the Republic of Korea and Japan, was formally signed during a ceremony hosted by Ghana’s Ministry of Health.
Strengthening Health Systems and Security Against Pandemic Threats
The three countries’ collaborative commitment under this agreement is expected to enhance primary health care and fortify health security defenses, particularly in the face of current and future pandemic challenges. The goal is to align the efforts of each nation, leveraging their respective strengths to provide support to Ghana’s public health institutions. This strategic alliance comes at a crucial time when the world is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, with several countries experiencing setbacks in essential health services.
Shared Vision and Objectives
The statement issued by the US State Department and shared with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) underscores the commitment of the United States to work with its global partners in investing in primary health care and global health security. The partners recognize the value of strategic cooperation and aim to build a healthier, more equitable, and prosperous world together.
Key Areas of Focus
Under the Memorandum of Cooperation, the three nations will pool their expertise and resources to support three critical health priorities in Ghana. These priorities include strengthening primary health care, enhancing health governance at the sub-national level (regions and districts), and bolstering global health security.
Implementation and Funding
The execution of the terms of reference will be carried out through the respective development agencies of the involved countries: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The US, through USAID, plans to invest up to $135 million until 2027, pending appropriate approvals. KOICA will contribute approximately $23 million, and JICA will provide technical and financial resources as approvals are secured.
Strategic Significance and Partners’ Pledge
The partnership is of great strategic importance, as it aims to enhance Ghana’s primary health care system, particularly the Community-Based Health Planning and Services, and health centers to improve the quality of health services. The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mochizuki Hisanobu, expressed enthusiasm about the Memorandum of Cooperation, highlighting that it is the first of its kind among all parties involved. The Republic of Korea also reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to supporting Ghana in achieving its health development agenda and pledged to work hand in hand with its esteemed partners.
Preparing for Future Health Emergencies
This multilateral agreement holds significance, especially as public health experts emphasize the need to build capacity for future epidemics or pandemics. Despite facing challenges like slipping global life expectancy and childhood vaccinations, investments in primary health care and global health security are crucial for countries to rebuild their health systems and effectively prepare for current and future health emergencies.