SEND Ghana is calling on government to set aside a fund in the budget to finance Ghana's epidemic preparedness as it continues the fight against COVID-19.
According to the civil society organisation, the fund will also help with the implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), as well as the Ghana Centre for Disease Control.
SEND Ghana made the recommendation in a proposal it submitted to the Finance Ministry for consideration in the yet to be presented 2021 budget.
The proposal has five recommendations.
Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is billed to present the budget on Friday, March 12, 2021, in the absence of Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta who is currently seeking medical attention in the US.
SEND Ghana justified its proposal, stating that: "This is necessary to adequately respond to the threat of epidemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 and to ensure equitable and effective health care delivery in times of pandemic outbreaks."
The five-point proposal covered sectors such as health, education, early childhood development, agriculture, gender, and social protection.
In the area of education, it stated that in order to "improve access and provide quality free and compulsory primary education for children, the government through the Ministry of Finance needs to prioritize budget allocation for the coated implementation plan for the Eary Childhood Education (ECE) Policy Framework. Also, budgetary priority should focus on the six (6) Action Areas (Effective Planning and Management Curriculum Development and Implementation; Competent In/Pre-Service Teachers and Non.Prolessionals; Family and Community Engagement; Infrastructure; Monitoring, Regulation, and Quality Assurance)".
Also, it added that, to increase smallholder farmers' access to farm equipment especially among women, the government should establish an Agricultural Mechanization Service Centre in MMDAs.
"Allocate significant funding to support the Implementation of the Integrated Social Services (ISS) program and establish an inter-sectoral body to oversee its successful implementation for effective delivery of child protection and welfare programs. To achieve this, the institution of appropriate legal provisions supported by good leadership is required to establish and fund a body that seeks to strengthen inter-sectoral coordination between district-level institutions (GUS, OSWCD, DES, DOVSU)," it stated under the Gender and Social protection sector.