Ghana has honoured more than 20 international donor partners, including diplomatic missions and organisations for playing critical roles in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghana recorded its first two cases of the deadly virus on March 12, 2020, compelling Government to introduce a raft of measures to contain the virus.
Support from donor partners through donations of various essentials such as test kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccines, among others, were crucial in the country’s success in the fight, which drew many commendations.
Countries honoured by the State included Great Britain, the United States of America, Norway, Japan, Ireland, Iceland, Hungary, Greece, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Estonia, Canada, Malta, Luxembourg and Austria.
Other awardees were the European Union, African Union, COVAX, USAID, Centre for Disease Surveillance and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, expressed gratitude to the various development partners for their unwavering support, particularly during the “unprecedented” COVID-19 pandemic.
The awards, she said, also offered Ghana a unique opportunity to strengthen bilateral and multilateral alliances in the face of a changing global landscape.
“The Government and the people of Ghana consider it a great honour to acknowledge your partnership and support during this significant period in our country’s history. It, therefore, gives me great pleasure to present these awards to you on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana in recognition of your unwavering friendship and goodwill, particularly during a time when we all needed to be each other’s keepers.
“It is my fervent hope that health diplomacy will endure for the mutual benefit of all partners as we rally around the shared principles and values, which define our common interest,” she said.
The World Health Organization (WHO), on May 5, 2023, declared that COVID-19 was no longer a global health emergency after more than three years of global health alert.
Ms Botchway said, as of June 7, 2023, the total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country since the outbreak on March 12, 2020, stood at 171,653, with 1,462 deaths.
Ms Botchway also indicated, as of the end of May, the Government had successfully administered over 24,941,922 doses of vaccines, adding that, it would continue to vaccinate more eligible individuals to ensure that the country achieved herd immunity.
The government, in May 2023, commissioned the National Vaccine Manufacturing Plant, collaborating with key partners from the private and public sectors, academic and research institutions, as well as organisations like the World Health Organization, GIZ, and the EU.
“This initiative aligns with the goal of local vaccine development and manufacturing for the continent,” Ms Botchway said.
She urged governments globally to transform existing threats into opportunities, fostering resilience and achieving a better recovery through knowledge sharing among countries.
Mr Ramses Cleland, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, said the level of collaboration shown during the COVID-19 crisis and the lessons learnt should propel countries and institutions globally to form a common approach towards global challenges for sustainable and inclusive development.
Marianna Gavriel, Honorary Consul of Greece in Ghana, who spoke on behalf of the diplomatic missions and organisations, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government for recognising their support in the fight against the pandemic.
“This recognition not only represents a significant milestone in our individual careers but also serves as a testament to the enduring friendship and diplomatic ties between our nations and corporations,” she said.
She assured of their commitment to fostering mutual prosperity, cultural understanding, and closer ties between nations in the years to come.
“We will continue to work tirelessly towards further strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our great nations,” she added.