The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh has argued for the setting up of a Public Health Emergency Fund to be managed by the private sector organizations like Price Waterhouse Coopers. This, the President believes will reduce bureaucracy and inspire confidence for many people and organizations to contribute towards it.

Mr. Donkoh made this call at a seminar and round table discussion held by the School of Public Health of the University of Ghana, Legon in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The event was on the theme “Financing Public Health Emergencies in Ghana”. It was the inaugural programme instituted by the Dean of the School of Public Health with support from Duke University, North Carolina.

The PSGH president highlighted the important contribution of the pharmaceutical sector to help minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He espoused how the local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies quickly retooled at their own cost to be able to produce hand sanitizers in large quantities which drastically reduced the cost of sanitizers. He stressed on the need for enhanced surveillance systems for early detection of lurking outbreaks and the need to be proactive in stocking the required medications and APIs for local manufacturing.

The President is of the view that “there should be a multidisciplinary Emergency Health Team at both national and local levels to handle future epidemics and pandemics.

The meeting was unanimous in recommending that the current COVID-19 Fund should be maintained but converted to a Public Health Emergency Fund and properly managed to handle future health emergencies which may sometimes include health consequences of flooding with increased risk of disease outbreaks.

The programme was chaired by the WHO Country Director, Dr. Francis Chisaka Kasolo.  Other high-profile speakers at the event were Prof. Kwasi Torpey, Dean of the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Prof. Julius Fobil, Provost of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana and Dr. Emmanuel Ankrah Odame, Director of PPME at the MOH, representing the Hon. Minister for Health.

In his address to the august audience, Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Director of Public Health of the Ministry of Health highlighted the role of vaccines in the management of disease outbreaks and stressed the need to protect the most economically active segment of the population, the middle aged.

Prof. Osondu Ogbuoji, Deputy Director of Global Health at Duke University, reiterated the need to continue to research during pandemics by the academia to be able to present timely and evidence-based recommendations to policy makers. He spoke about the need to commit more resources to healthcare and build upon them.