Testing for Covid-19 has cost the government about US$18m so far, Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye has revealed.
Ghana has conducted more than 290,000 tests since the outbreak of the viral disease in mid-March, representing more than 9,000 tests in every one million population. Each Covid-19 test costs the government about US$60, the Deputy Minister said.
The government has had to increase health spending to cover the cost of managing the pandemic, while the virus is also affecting Ghana’s economy severely, with GDP growth projected to decline sharply and government revenue set for a big hit this year.
In April, Parliament granted a request by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to withdraw an amount of GH₵1.2bn, equivalent to US$219m, from the oil stabilisation fund to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
Part of the amount was used to finance food delivery to the vulnerable during a three-week lockdown of Accra and Kumasi in April as well as subsidies on water consumption from April to June.
The government has also received emergency budget financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through a US$1bn rapid credit facility that was disbursed in April. A portion of the amount was earmarked for subsidies on electricity consumption during the months of April to June.
Ghana’s Covid-19 infections hit 18,630 on Thursday, with 14,046 recoveries, giving an active case count of 4,467 and deaths of 117 people.