Citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are expected to access the antigen test for coronavirus (COVID-19) at the airport and all borders of the country at a cost of $50.
The Minister-designate for Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, who disclosed this in Parliament last Friday, said member-countries of ECOWAS had agreed to cap the cost of COVID-19 testing within the sub-region at $50.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo, consequently, had “actually given orders that we should quickly make our implementation modalities to try to see how best this can be implemented in our country, and I believe if at all, at least ECOWAS citizens would be able to access the test at the airport at the $50 as has been agreed by the ECOWAS community.”
The Health Minister-designate, who is the NPP MP for Dormaa Central, was responding to an assertion by the NDC MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
The North Tongu MP had stated in a statement on the Floor of the House that Ghana’s COVID-19 antigen test which cost $150 at the Kotoka International Airport remained one of the most expensive, “if not the most expensive Airport COVID-19 Antigen Test anywhere in the world.”
According to him, the $150 fee is “punitive and retrogressive” and “is leading to widespread agitation and incessant appeals from the general public for an urgent intervention, especially by this august House.”
But the Health Minister-designate said the $150 fee for the antigen test did not come for nothing, saying, “Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure that was put at the airport to try to do these things efficiently was quite parallel around the whole world.
“People who were traveling across Europe and America will come and testify to this. And these things come at a cost, but we have taken a good look at what is now on the board and I believe things will begin to ease up a little bit for us and this will be looked at favourably.”
He pointed out that they initially were battling with antigen tests and that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) was restricting them, while the scientists also said that the nation would not use antigen tests.
“But it looks like now the new antigen test that has been certified by the WHO has been tested and its sensitivity has gone high. So I believe very soon these things will come onboard and we may see antigen testing being utilised in the country,” he posited.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House