The 72nd Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) was on Thursday launched in Accra with a focus on, "Building Ghana in the face of Global Health Crises."
The conference is slated for January 19-20, 2021 at the University of Ghana, Legon.
It is being organised by School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana.
Unveiling the event Thursday, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health, said the ministry would adhere to its mandate of championing the course of a healthy population to contribute to socio-economic growth of the country.
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"Health is not expenditure, but an investment that yields dividends, especially when the population becomes healthy and productive," he said.
He said since the outbreak of COVID-19 on March 12, 2020, government had rolled out pragmatic measures to respond to the pandemic.
These included; the closure of boarders, effective contact tracing, and imposition of restrictions in parts of the country and intra city movements.
The minister said government had established Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to support Micro, Small and Medium-size businesses to minimise job losses and expand industrial output for domestic consumption and exports.
Through the programme, he said the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Local Government and the Rural Development as well as other stakeholders provided food to individuals and homes in the affected areas of restrictions.
He stated that government in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries, the Business and Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks, rolled out a soft loan scheme of GH¢ 600 million with a one year moratorium and two year repayment period for Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses to reduce harsh economic effects on some business owners.
Mr Agyemang-Manu said government would continue to strengthen the capacity of health systems and public health to identify cases, isolate and treat them.
He added that it would continue to trace and quarantine contacts, stressing that the country's policies would be driven by data and science.
Mr Agyemang-Manu said the pandemic had helped the country to build the necessary alliances and partnership in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, alluding to benefits of the roadmap to Universal Health Coverage of leaving no one behind.
Professor Michael Tagoe, the Acting Provost, College of Education, University of Ghana, said though the spread of COVID-19 had not been as virulent as in the Western world, African countries had struggled to improve health care for their citizens with non-communicable diseases on the rise.
In Ghana, records show that hypertension, stroke, diabetes and cancers are responsible for 43 per cent of all deaths.
Prof Tagoe said education in the era of global health crises was the best approach to dealing with the pandemic and reducing non-communicable diseases in the country.
He called for the need to ensure that more health facilities were built and investments made in health sector workforce for sustainable healthcare growth.
Dr John Boateng, Director, 72nd ANYSC, urged institutions and agencies to engage in strong collaborations and partnerships.
That, he said was crucial in finding common solutions to national problems and building resilience against global health crises.
The Annual New Year School and Conference was introduced in 1948 and attracts people from all walks of life to deliberate on topical issues of national and international interests.