ACCRA, Ghana — The head of Caritas Ghana said although the government of the West African country had good policies in mitigating COVID-19, its approach to implementing the policies was weak.

Samuel Zan Akologo, executive secretary of Caritas Ghana, said the several side events and fringe meetings at this year’s U.N. high-level political forum, which focused on the implications of the virus and government responses, prompted him to reflect on Ghana’s response plan.

“A critical message that gained popularity in most of the sessions that I followed is that governments, especially in Africa, were tending to mind more about their economic recovery to the neglect of social protection for their vulnerable populations,” he said.

Akologo said he “concluded, rightly or wrongly, that the general assertion of policy neglect for the poor did not apply in Ghana.” He said early priorities by Ghana included an alleviation program for the poor, but what remains to be seen is implementation.

Akologo referred to several programs that Ghana has had in place and noted that the country’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan was still being finalized. But, referring to the programs to support the poor, he added, “the devil is always in the detail.”

He said some preliminary findings “indicate that some of the district assemblies are unaware of their roles in the government COVID-19 alleviation program” and inquired: “What is going on with implementation of public policies even when they are so clearly outlined and documented?”

He said civil and church agencies like Caritas Ghana “can still do more, especially in advocacy toward government responsiveness.”

Part of Caritas Ghana’s support in ensuring the effective implementation of policies, he said, included “facilitating dialogue meetings with broad stakeholders from government, media, NGOs and vulnerable populations to discuss” how the government’s plans to protect the population could better help the poor.