Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement and Improved Governance in the COVID 19 Response in Ghana’s Upper West Region

The Government of Ghana has mobilized a lot of resources, both financial and physical, to address the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the World Bank is providing $100 million in as short, medium and long-term support to assist the country in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, including  $35 million in emergency support to help prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Ghana Emergency Preparedness and Response Program (EPRP).

In spite of these investments, health facilities are complaining of a blatant lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and there is little education about the pandemic. The supply chain of PPEs and other funds received by the government are not transparent and there is a high risk of corruption based on experience with other instances of health problems and recent disaster response and relief.

It is obvious Ghana’s government alone cannot bring the situation under control in the coming months, in spite of the many resources available. CSOs are a valuable addition to public services to demonstrate, document and disseminate to the appropriate authorities an example of effective use of resources to alleviate the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.

In view of this background, PTF is supporting longtime partner, SAVE-Ghana, to design and test an approach to implement the Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement and Improved Governance in the COVID 19 Response in Ghana’s Upper West Region, with the overall aim of contributing to increased efficiency and effectiveness in the management of COVID 19 funds and resources.

The program is: 1) supporting Ghana Health Services (GHS) to provide information on COVID 19 preventive measures, procurements and distribution of supplies; 2) monitoring of public expenditures on COVID 19; and 3) engaging with authorities to provide feedback to improve COVID 19 response program implementation.

The initiative is initially targeting the Sisaala East district and the Sisaala West districts of the upper west region of Ghana, with a cumulative population of 160,000, over a six month period. Due to the deprived nature of the districts, information about resource allocation for a COVID 19 response is lacking among citizen groups who are supposed to be the prime target groups, thus serving as a breeding ground both for the virus and for government officials to abuse the system.