The Minister-designate of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Kwaku Afriyie, has said that despite the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Ghana has made a tremendous contribution to the fight against the pandemic.
Contrary to popular belief, he said, the public health system in Ghana is robust compared to those of many other African countries.
Ghana was able to marshal a good set of tools in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, he said, with President Akufo-Addo leading the fight against the disease.
Dr Afriyie made these remarks when he appeared before the appointments committee of Parliament to go through vetting for the ministerial role in charge of Environment, Science and Technology.
The nominee, who is the MP for Sefwi-Wiawso, served as the Western Regional minister during President Akufo-Addo’s first term.
In his new role, he will be expected to co-ordinate Ghana’s response to climate change and matters of the environment, and particularly address the effects of illegal mining on the country’s water bodies.
Dr Afriyie, who is also a public health expert, told the vetting committee that there are structures undergirding Ghana’s public health system which deal adequately with health promotion and prevention and provide sound reporting mechanisms.
The system also provides a framework to deal with outbreaks of disease, he said.
He recalled that in the past Ghana has been at the forefront of the fight to eradicate measles and whooping cough, among diseases affecting the lives of people who live in tropical regions.
With the capacity that had been built up over the years, the government was able to marshal expertise at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dr Afriyie said, and succeeded in stemming the rapid spread of the disease.
He said even though other countries have experienced an exponential spread of the disease, Ghana has suffered nothing like as severe a crisis.
Dr Afriyie however argued that one big challenge to the public health system in Ghana remains its clinical services, which, he conceded, face a shortfall.
Ghana has one of the best health systems in the world, he said, adding that Ghanaians anywhere in the world can pride themselves on the strength of Ghana’s response to COVID-19.