The Netherlands contributed in the beginning of April the amount of 100 million euro to the WHO for the fight against COVID-19 in the more vulnerable countries. This support aims not only at preventing and at combatting COVID-19, but also focusses on mitigating socio-economic consequences.
In the beginning of July last, the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade announced that some further 150 million Euro would be made available to help the more vulnerable countries in their fight against COVID-19. Even when the COVID-consequences come hard on the Netherlands itself, and indeed, they do, the Dutch still stand ready to help and support other countries to combat COVID and soften the socio-economic consequences.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-crisis in March, the Government of Ghana has done a commendable job to contain the COVID-crisis,” said Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker recently.
“Like their counterparts in the Netherlands, thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical staff are at the forefront to provide care and keep us safe. Like all Ghanaians, we as members of the international community are grateful for that. We as Dutch are proud that we can be of support and we intend to continue that support.”
Dutch support to efforts to combat COVID-19 amounts as per mid July 2020 to almost 4 million Ghana cedi. And an increase to some 5 million Ghana cedi is envisaged in the next couple of weeks.
Some of the most important interventions are stated underneath.
Healthcare (1) COVID Connect Centre (300.00 Euro – ca. 2 mln GHC)
In May, the COVID Connect Centre was launched within the University of Ghana Medical Centre. This is a virtual monitoring app with a back-end Care Coordination Centre at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) that gives subscribers access to needed clinical support from a team of medical experts and specialists. It is based on technology developed by the Dutch IT-company Luscii. The program is considered a game changer in the fight against COVID-19 and some 2500 plus patients are benefitting from it. COVID-Connect is now being rolled out to other parts of the country.
This initiative is a joint one of Ghana’s Ministry of Health, University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) and the Ghana branch of the social enterprise PharmAccess Foundation, based in the Netherlands. The project is largely funded by ACHMEA, a Dutch insurance and pension company and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, which has supported programs in Ghana for over four decades. The total support from the Netherlands amounts to some 300.00 euro.
In addition to this, with the help of Pharmaccess and the Ghana Health Service, a program is at present being developed to ensure better protection of healthcare workers in Ghana are protected against COVID so that they can continue providing care within the COVID-period and beyond and/or a program to enhance the capacity and efficiency of existing laboratories currently conducting Covid-19 tests. Dutch funding will amount to 200.000 Euro (1.350.000 GHC).
Healthcare (2) Computer Aided Detection of COVID-19 (122.600 Euro – ca. 820.00 GHC))
On the initiative of the Dutch company Delft Imaging, in July 20, hospitals in Ghana which were earlier assisted in getting digital X-ray equipment installed in their facilities as part of a large Dutch-funded 22 mln euro Infrastructure Program, will receive and install small computer boxes with Delft CAD4COVID-software. The software contains Artificial Intelligence, which helps to detect at an early stage lung conditions caused by COVID-19. Funding at the amount of 122.600 Euro comes from the Dutch Good Growth Fund, which is being managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Some 55 medical facilities are envisaged to be equipped within this program.
Healthcare (3) – CORIP (65.000 GHC)
Within the framework of the longstanding Dutch funded Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Project (CORIP), Personal Protective Equipment (overalls, goggles, facemask, and boots) will be donated to six Health Facilities within the project catchment area. Each Health Facility will benefit 1700 euros of PPEs. Total contribution will come to 10.000 euros, or some 67.000 GHC.
Healthcare (4) SWAPP (200.000 GHC)
The Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Project (SWAPP) distributes some 20,000 branded facemasks to direct project beneficiaries over the current period. The total costs are estimated at 30,000 euros, or some 200.000 GHC.
(Healthcare (5) Tax revenue for Economic Enhancement Program (TREE) (10.000 GHC)
Within the framework of the Tax Revenue for Economic Enhancement Program (TREE), which focusses on the improvement on local taxation in Ghana, some 2000 nose masks have been distributed to 20 MMDAs, which take part in the program. Total costs at 10.000 GHC.
WASH (1) – Urban Sanitation Program
The Dutch-funded, UNICEF implemented Urban Sanitation Program (USP) , such in close cooperation with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and the municipalities of Ashaiman, Ho, Tamale and (soon) Elmina is perhaps one of the most successful WASH-programs in Ghana. WASH is central to managing the COVID crisis; hence, USP has over the last months focused on risk communication (radio, TV, market sensitizing events) disinfection, improvement of WASH-facilities in schools and health centers. Some 30.000 people benefitted from new household latrines and new hand washing facilities. In addition, some 3500 were handed out. Moreover, some 85 Environmental Health Officers at municipal assemblies received extensive training.
WASH (2) P2P Program
Within the WASH from Possible 2 Profitable project, loans from the 4 million euro Revolving Fund are given for COVID-related purchases of hygiene products such as handwashing buckets, production of hand sanitizer, detergents, soaps and Personal Protective Equipment like nose masks. This has stimulated more entrepreneurs to venture into WASH businesses as the demand for hygiene products has strongly escalated in the country.
WASH (3) – GHANA WASH WINDOW
Some water enterprises within the Dutch-funded Ghana WASH Window, i.e. Safe Water Network & Access Development rolled out an anti-COVID- 19 plan in the Western, Eastern and Volta regions. For three months, their water stations provided free access to free and made available soap and hand washing stands. In addition, mechanized boreholes are being built for new district isolation centers. District assemblies get help from GWW in warning communities about COVID-risks, including the production of information material. Some 130 communities and 24 health centers are supported.
WASH (4) – INT Water Management Institute (IWMI) – How to Build Back Better from COVID-19
Apart from all direct and emergency measure needed to fights COVID, understanding the effects of the response of COVID-19 on water, wastewater and sanitation management in Ghana is crucial. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic teaches us that WASH is essential for our health, our safety and our prosperity. The IMWI study will help to sharpen current WASH-policies to improve water and sanitation in metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and hence to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. Contribution estimated at 100.000 Euro (670.000 GHC).
Socio-economic measures (1) – Orange Corners Young Entrepreneurs Program (400.000 GHC)
The Dutch-funded Orange Corners Program started in 2019. Orange Corners Ghana, as an acceleration program, contributes to the vibrant entrepreneurship climate in Ghana by bringing young entrepreneurs with a proven track record to the next level, with training for better knowledge, better skills, better business plans, higher turn-over and hence more jobs. In addition: access to finance. In order to help the 30 participants sofar in the OC-Program to get their businesses through COVID-times, each participant got a grant of 2000 Euro (some 13.500 GHC) each, totaling up to ca. 400.000 GHC