The STG and EML are policy instruments by which the Ministry of Health (MoH) ensures rational prescription and use of medicines as well as procurements and reimbursements for the National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS).
The three-day workshop being attended by about 30 Health experts from the MoH, Ghana Health Service, teaching Hospitals and other health institutions in the country, is supported by the MOH, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DflD) and other partners.
It aims at reviewing list of diseases listed in the STGs based on current trend disease burden in the country, treatments and list of medicines on the EML including medicines recommended for reimbursements on the NHIS medicine list.
It was also to define a list of medicines for specialist care and medical emergencies based on a defined list of emergency medical conditions and define the associated medicines-related health technologies.
Another objective was to provide a user-friendly algorithm for the management of emergency conditions in Ghana.
Dr Kweku Agyeman-Mensah, in a speech read on his behalf said the review was very critical to the entire health sector since it had resource- saving-implications and more importantly a huge effect on the quality of care in the health facilities.
He indicated that rational use of medicines was an important agenda for the MoH since it formed the basis of the ministry’s effort at ensuring universal health coverage.
He stated that Ghana had over the last two or three decades, implemented an essential drugs policy with the aim of ensuring that drugs which the country could use to manage its disease burden were always available and at a manageable cost.
Dr Agyeman-Mensah indicated that with the current challenges in health financing, strengthening the use of the STGs and EMLs offered a good leverage in the overall management of drugs and pharmaceuticals in the health sector.
The Minister said the rational prescribing and reimbursements, based on the STGs and EML, would not only ensure the continued implementation of the generic medicines policy but also contain cost and help sustain the NHIS.
He added that the availability of evidence-based and consensus-driven treatment guidelines could lead to adherence and good prescribing behavior and it was the ministry’s intention to promote prescriber training based on STGs, with a special focus on prescribing in primary care facilities.
He indicated that the ministry anticipated putting in place mechanisms that would enable it to monitor and support the implementation of the guidelines, adding that, such monitoring had the potential to strengthen adherence guidelines.
Dr Agyeman-Mensah noted that the Government’s agenda of maximizing investment in health in all areas could be done, if the necessary principles in health technology assessment to the medicines selection process were applied.
This he said would ensure that with limited resources, the country got the best value-for-money in its health financing strategies.
“Because of such benefits, government intends to strengthen the STGs and EML as well as the national medicines selection process.” He stated.