Akosua Frema Osei-Opare receiving a present
As of December 15, 2020, the COVID-19 National Trust Fund had received a total of GHC57.1 million in cash donations alone, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, has announced.
Additionally, the Trust received logistics such as vehicles, equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), she said, noting that the response to the Trust Fund had been very encouraging.
Mrs Osei-Opare made these known during a panel discussion, moderated by Kofi Owusu, General Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), at the 72nd Annual New Year School and Conference. It is on the theme: “Building Ghana in the Face of the Global Health Crises”.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana in March 2020, the Government set-up the COVID-19 National Trust Fund to receive donations in cash and kind from the public and corporate entities to support the wellbeing of the needy and the vulnerable. It is also to assist some health institutions to function effectively.
The two-day School is being organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana.
The event, which elicits contributions from many prominent personalities in various sectors of the economy, has since its inception in 1948, been the flagship programme of the University.
Mrs Osei-Opare, who was addressing the topic: “Coordinating the Business of Government during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Ghana’s Development”, said the Trust had been disbursing the fund to purchase the essential items for health institutions to minimise the impact of the pandemic.
The beneficiaries include the Ghana Health Service (GHS), selected hospitals and other health facilities – both private and public.
The COVID-19 care management/isolation centres, laboratories and testing centres, selected associations and institutions, homes and orphanages have also benefitted.
She said COVID-19 had created and also brought to light capacity constraints in the delivery of essential services, especially in the health sector.
“The virus has adversely affected infrastructure, security, public order, health, social protection and assistance, education, housing, labour and indeed, all elements of the social wellbeing of Ghanaians,” she emphasised.
She said the resulting skills gap, capacities deficit and economic opportunities would require government to be more creative in the future.
One such creativity, she said, was the Government’s commitment to digitisation in various aspects of the economy, especially in education and the provision of goods and services to the public.
“We have made some strides in this digitisation and government has not done it alone,” she said. “It has collaborated with the private sector and other development partners in this endeavour.”
She said the pandemic had also illuminated the importance of government-citizen relations and the need for mutual trust.
The Chief of Staff said to ensure effective and sustainable service delivery, while maintaining good government-citizen relations at all times, the Government was working with universal human rights laws.
This would also ensure the rule of law, accountability, democratic principles and good governance.
She urged Ghanaians to deeply reflect on the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and how Ghana had managed the crisis and to learn some lessons to improve on the management of the disease.
She emphasised that as of January 3, when the President gave the COVID-19 update, the nation’s health facilities were almost empty of COVID-19 patients, but as of January 19, some health facilities within Accra were almost full. “We are not out of the woods yet,” she cautioned.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo opened the event on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.