Civil Society Organisation Research Center for Policy Advocacy and Governance (ReCPAG) is calling on the government to further reduce the $50 being charged for antigen test at the airport while also urging the government to close down basic schools and to publish a roadmap for vaccination.
In a Press st Statement issued in Accra by the Executive Director of the thinktank Mumuni Believer Likpalmo, the thinktank said there are countries that charge far less but render more effective tests.
ReCPAG cites Malawi which charges US$25, Djibouti US$28 and Egypt US$30 far lesser compared to the antigen test at the Kotoka International Airport, Ghana.
Mr. Likplamore proposed fuller “transparency in disclosing the type of vaccine to be procured, the cost, quantity, efficacy, the cold chain management system, training of personnel for the administration of the vaccines and the vaccination roadmap.”
According to RECPAG, while trials are ongoing to conclude on the eligibility of children below 16 years in vaccination, RECPAG research indicates that the infection rate of the new variants is alarming among children and call on the government to shut down basic schools as echoed by the Ghana Medical Association.
Read the full press statement below:
FURTHER, REDUCE THE COST OF ANTIGEN TEST, CLOSE DOWN SCHOOLS AND PUBLISH VACCINE ROADMAP
The Research Center for Policy Advocacy and Governance (ReCPAG) has taken notice of the mixed reactions with which Ghanaians received the announcement of a reduction in the covid-19 antigen test at Kotoka International Airport.
In his twenty-third National Address, H.E Nana Akuffo Addo announced that, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS at its Fifty-Eight Ordinary Session, held on 23rd of January 2021, agreed that PCR test for ECOWAS nationals within the sub-region be
capped at a maximum of US$50.
In as much as we credit the Heads of State for this singular decision, ReCPAG believe the cost of US$50 for an antigen test is still expensive, and a fleecing attempt to continue to milk and profiteer from the already suffering Ghanaian travellers and other non-ECOWAS compatriots who have endured the ravages and devastations of SARS-COV-2.
The most striking realization is that majority of countries such as Malawi charges US$25, Djibouti US$28, Egypt US$30 to mention but a few. Ironically, these countries which conduct the most accurate and highly sensitive PCR tests are charging far lesser compared to the antigen test at the Kotoka International Airport, Ghana.
In addition to this, ReCPAG believes that maintaining the US$150 charge for non-ECOWAS nationals is an act of discrimination which could spike a replication by international organizations and other neighbouring countries.
The SARS-COVID2 sample sequencing test conducted by the WACCBIP of University of Ghana indicates that the new UK strain, B.1.17 is dominating and driving the local transmission
We, therefore, wish to ask how and why the $150 priced antigen at K.I.A allowed Ghana to suffer this fate?
We wish to use this medium to also inform the government of the mix feelings and disappointment among Ghanaians of its inability to be transparent in disclosing the type of vaccine to be procured, the cost, quantity, efficacy, the cold chain management system, training of personnel for the administration of the vaccines and the vaccination roadmap.
Publishing such could afford stakeholders the opportunity to make inputs into arriving at the best vaccine against the new variants and deepen Ghanaians confidence level in the vaccine programme.
Again, while trials are ongoing to conclude on the eligibility of children below 16 years in vaccination, our research indicates that the infection rate of the new variants is alarming in children.
We, therefore, wish to use this medium to call on the President to take the bull by the horn and close our basic and junior high schools as we continue to study the science and data of the variants.
The particular reason is that, the government has failed to supply enough PPEs to most schools to help contain the growing spread and surge of the virus among schoolchildren living parents in a state of apprehension.
On education and sensitization, ReCPAG asserts that there is still a wide gap on public education and knowledge among Ghanaians, resorting into a section of the population believing that SARS-COVID-2 is not real; that the disease affects only the affluent in society; improper wearing of nose masks, largely on the chin and failure to observe other COVID protocols.
We, therefore, call on the NCCE to up their public education whilst the government plays its supportive role with the necessary logistics in this regard.
In conclusion, we encourage the citizenry to fully adhere to the safety protocols by washing their hands with soap under running water, social distancing, proper wearing of nose masks, use of hand sanitisers and other existing infection prevention control measures.
Mumuni Believer Likpalmor
(Executive Director, ReCPAG).