Ghana loses GH¢25m to H1N1 in 2010, 2011… due to failure to plan against disease – Auditor-General

Ghana lost more than GH¢25 million between 2010 and 2011due to the non-implementation of an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Human and Avian Pandemic Influenza put in place by the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD).

The amount represents incomes to farmers who lost about 422,087 of their animals through the outbreak of notifiable disease, revealed a performance audit report by the Auditor-General.

As a consequence, Mr Daniel Domelevo, the Auditor-General has directed management of the VSD to use funds allocated for workshops to organise local training programmes on the Preparedness Plan for Human and Avian Pandemic Influenza as a matter of priority.

The report by the Auditor-General on the VSD submitted to Parliament and sighted by the Ghanaian Times, also revealed that there were about 8,564 cases of disease outbreaks leading to the death of the animals.

The Audit Performance Report was prepared by the Auditor-General in accordance with Article 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 13(e) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584).

According to the Auditor-General, even though an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Human and Avian Pandemic Influenza based on the risks identified in 2006 as a means of dealing with such notifiable diseases, the directorate did not conduct training of staff on the planning.

In addition the Directorate failed to review the preparedness plan after the 2007 review.

On funding he said an amount GH¢31, 681,190.94 was realised by the VSD through its various sources of funding including Internally Generated Funds (IGF).

“During the period covered by the audit, VSD received a total amount of GH¢16,906,572.4 from Government of Ghana (GOG). An additional amount of GH¢7,645,569.14 Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on Preparedness and Response of VSD to Animal Diseases Outbreaks in Ghana  was received from development partners and this went into preparedness and response activities of VSD. VSD also generates funds internally and retains 25per cent for other administrative expenses. Total internally generated funds (IGF) retained during the audit period was GH¢5,879,044.34,” he said.

The report further revealed that even though the VSD conducted routine vaccination in preventing animal disease outbreaks it delayed in submitting the passive surveillance one reports. This was in addition to the general lapses in the animal movement control.

Furthermore, the audit report noted that the VSD did not make provision for sensitisation in their annual programme of work.

 The report therefore recommended that the directorate liaise with banks to find alternative means of making payment such as using mobile money without physically going to the banks.

It also recommended that they plan for sensitisation and liaise with media houses to give them access to their media outlets for sensitisation programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility and document sensitisation activities.

By Cliff Ekuful

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