CSOs track government’s health promises
The Universal Access to Health Care Campaign on Monday reminded Government of its manifesto promises on health, saying development takes time so it should take action now to fulfill them.
Acknowledging Government’s commitment to improving Ghana’s healthcare, the Campaign members admitted that six-month in office was too short a time to carry out proper evaluation of progress made so far, but also noted that steps being taken now showed the level of commitment to the promises.
The Campaign is driven by a network of local and international NGOs, including the ARHR, ISODEC, Essential Service Platform, SEND Ghana, the Coalition of NGOs in Health and Oxfam, for quality and accessible health services for all, free at the point of use.
Briefing the media in Accra, Dr Steve Manteaw, the Campaigns Coordinator, raised pertinent questions regarding specific promises made by the ruling National Democratic Congress Government under President John Mahama administration it its political party manifesto.
On training of medical practitioners to reduce patient-doctor ratio where government had promised increase resources, the Campaign asked how many doctors could be trained and whether beneficiaries were coming from the deprived areas with its allocation of GH¢11.3 million in the 2013 budget.
It said no specific action had been taken so far by government on its promise of doubling the number of Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound from 1,600 to 3,200.
The Campaign commended government for securing GH¢175 million to construct six new district hospitals at Sekondi, Abetifi, Kumawu, Dodowa, Fomena and Garu Tempani, but asked when these projects would commence.
On expanding existing midwifery and nurses training colleges and establishing new colleges in under-served areas, the Campaign lauded Government for taking appropriate measures to provide anti-retroviral drugs to persons living with HIV/ AIDS even when donor funds dwindled further.
“To give meaning to this; Government is supporting the new National Strategic Plan with GH¢150 million”.
It said no action had been seen yet to implement policies on the integration of traditional medicine into the health care delivery system in compliance with the provisions of the Traditional Medicine Practice Act, 2000, Act 575.
The Campaign, however, commended government for extending the on-going free Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) distribution programme to attain the 2005 Abuja target of 60% of children sleeping under insecticide treated nets.
Government has allocated GH¢15.0 million to support the Malaria Vector Control Programme (Labiofam).
Promises on nutrition (the good food for good life campaign) and non communicable diseases, it said no concrete action had been taken so far.
Government has also promised to make the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) truly national by phasing out the District Mutual Health Insurance Schemes. This the Campaign said had improved efficiency in the provider payment mechanisms and roll-out capitation nationwide.
“The list is long and six months has already passed. It is clear the Government has much ground to cover over the next four years if it is to adhere to its promises.
“For this reason, we do not expect government to achieve all the promises in just one or two years’ time, but over the four year period. For us, the most important thing is that these promises are fulfilled by the end of 2016.”