PARLIAMENT has approved a buyer’s credit agreement between the government and ABN Amro N.V Bank of the Netherlands, for an amount of 13 million euros to finance the ‘Accelerating tuberculosis case detection’ project.
The facility is the loan component of the entire project cost of 20 million euros. The remaining seven million euros is a grant from the Dutch government.
The key objective of the project is to enhance T.B control by reaching the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 70 per cent case detection target in Ghana and, ultimately, lower the burden of TB, henceforth.
It also aims to boost the diagnostic capacity of the public health system by distributing digital radiographic systems, including teleradiology infrastructure, and replace labour- intensive technologies for detecting mycobacterium tuberculosis with less labour-intensive technologies.
A report by the Finance Committee on the project, observed that the facility was a mixed credit with relatively concessionary terms.
It said the facility was in compliance with the country’s new Debt Management Strategy, because it sought to deliver public goods by, among other things, helping the country to meet its commitment of achieving the MDG 6.
The report indicated that the country faced challenges in detecting TB cases early, and mentioned some as low sensitivity of the standard detection methodology limited or no access to quality chest radiographic systems for diagnosis, limited laboratory capacity, among others.
To be able to estimate the actual prevalence of TB in the country, it said a nationwide survey was required to scientifically determine the proportion of people living with the disease.
“The last prevalence study in Ghana was conducted in 1957 and it is important to repeat this study to determine the actual prevalence and develop the appropriate strategies to combat it,” it said.
The report noted that the project had a high potential of generating revenue towards repayment of the loan component of the facility and added that the project would boost the diagnostic capacity of the public health system by the provision of 46 digital radiographic systems including teleradiology infrastructure to selected hospitals.
“The X-Ray machines have the capacity to detect non-TB cases such as other lung diseases common among people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, trauma and other diseases and thus provide a platform for the hospitals to generate revenue from fees,” he said.
The project, it said, was specifically estimated to generate an income of 18 million over the project financing period of 12 years.
The request presented to Parliament also included waiver of import duty, import VAT, import NHIL, ECOWAS levy, EDAIF, and other applicable fees and charges amounting to 2.4 million euros on materials and equiopment to be used under the project.
By Yaw Kyei