The Research Centre for Policy Advocacy and Governance (ReCPAG) has called for a further reduction of the cost of mandatory PCR antigen tests carried out at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his 23rd COVID-19 update address on 31 January 2021, announced that the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS at its 58th Ordinary Session, held on 23 January 2021, agreed that PCR test for ECOWAS nationals within the sub-region be capped at a maximum of US$50.
But, a statement issued and signed by ReCPAG’s Executive Director, Mumuni Believer Likpalmor on 10 February 2021 indicated: “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 travelers and other non-ECOWAS compatriots who have endured the ravages and devastations of SARS-COV-2”.
The most striking realisation 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,” the statement added.
ReCPAG also intimated 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 neighboring 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 local transmission in Ghana. We, therefore, wish to ask how and why the $150 priced antigen at K.I.A allowed Ghana to suffer this fate?” ReCPAG further stated.
The statement continued: “We wish to use this medium to also inform 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”.
ReCPAG also appealed to President Akufo-Addo to immediately cose down schools across the country due to the alarming rate of COVID-19 cases recorded among children since schools reopened last month, while stressing on the need for sensitization to be intensified to provide imore information and knowledge about the virus.
“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 government has failed to supply enough PPEs to most schools to help contain the growing spread and surge of the virus among school children 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 government plays its supportive role with the necessary logistics in this regard,” the statement further noted, adding that: “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”.
Source: Class FM