Civil Society in Ghana unhappy with government’s health budget

stethoscopeThe country’s civil society organisations (CSOs) have noted that  government  signed the 2001 Abuja Declaration, committing itself to spend at least 15 per cent of the total national budget on health.

A communiqué issued by the CSOs in Accra and copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra said  a data from World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that  in 2012 government fell short of meeting the benchmark, spending only 12.5 per cent of its total budget on health.

It said  over a decade since signing the Abuja Declaration, government has still not honoured its pledge.

The communiqué noted that WHO in 2010 recommended that, in order to achieve universal access to healthcare by 2015, Ghana’s total health spending including both government and private spending should amount to a minimum of $54 per person.

It said the target cannot be met if the government does not meet the 15 per cent benchmark.

The communiqué was intended to urge the government to make specific commitments at the Abuja+ 12 Heads of State Special Health Summit so that Ghana can finally alleviate the gap on its spending on health and honour its Abuja Declaration.

It said although Ghana’s domestic financing for health has improved since the Abuja Declaration, there is still an urgent need for actual public expenditure in healthcare and increased efficiency in the use of such resources.

“Greater and efficient healthcare financing is not only necessary for honouring the Government’s Abuja Declaration pledge, but also for achieving the MDG (Millennium Development ) goals and universal access to basic healthcare,” it said.

It said the 15 per cent benchmark can be achieved if the government takes active steps to alleviate the gap on its spending on healthcare, facilitate the actual release and disbursement of allocated funds and manage identified funding leakages.

The communiqué asked the government not to  increase the National Health Insurance Scheme premium as a “quick fix” to increase financing, which will defeat its essence as a social protection programme targeted at the poor.

It said instead government should instead focus on innovative ways to raise funds.

Government should increase its role as the largest contributor to healthcare, rather than placing that responsibility on individuals to help alleviate the risk of the poor being denied access to healthcare and pushing others into poverty due to personal expenditure on health.

The communiqué was adopted by MamaYe Campaign, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights Evidence for Action, Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign, Ghana Association for Women’s Welfare, Send Ghana, Opportunity Industrialisation Centre, International National, and Association of People Living with HIV, Ghana Rural-Urban Women and Children Development Agency among others.

Source: GNA

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