New Year School appeals for comprehensive review of NHIS

NHISA more comprehensive review and restructuring of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and its financing structure should be carried out to ensure its financial sustainability, the 67th New Year School and Conference has recommended.

A communiqué issued by participants at the close of the New Year School called for the motivation of corporate organizations to direct their corporate social responsibility activities towards improving health care.

It said such companies should be encouraged with attractive tax incentives or rebates.

It said the NHIS should cater for mainly primary health care while the secondary and tertiary health care can be catered for by private health insurance schemes.

The 67th New Year School and Conference on the theme: “Promoting Universal Health for Sustainable Development in Ghana: Is the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) the Game Changer”; was organized by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana from Sunday, January 10 to Friday, January 15, 2016.

Airtel Ghana, which was the main sponsor of the event, donated GHȼ200,000 in cash and GHȼ50,000 in kind towards the organization of the event.

Professor Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana, in his closing remarks, said there was no doubt that for Ghana to accelerate its economic growth and raise the living standards of its citizens in this era of social and technological innovation to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, new concepts, strategies, and organizations are required.

“The use of ICTs is essential to meet all kinds of socio-economic needs for Ghana to redefine its philosophy on the integration of all aspects of the economy to promote growth, social cohesion and the well-being and empowerment of its citizens, and also to position itself for the emerging middle-income knowledge economy,” he said.

The communique noted that the current deployment of ICT and biometric registration systems should be rapidly implemented across the country to improve efficiency.

It noted that the government should increase taxes on consumer goods that result in the deterioration of the health of consumers (for instance cigarette and alcohol and other informal activities and direct such funds towards health).

Considering the important role of ICT in improving maternal health, adolescent reproductive health and that of men, the New Year School recommends that the GHS should put in place measures to increase accessibility of reproductive health information through the various social media platforms for adolescents, women and men in languages they speak and understand.

It called for the establishment of community based e-Health centers for health workers and the general public to facilitate interaction and public health education among the people.

To realize the full benefit of ICT in developing an efficient human resource base in the health sector, the New Year School recommends that as a first step, ICT training should be a basic and compulsory course component for the training of all health professionals and other health service workers.

It said all teaching hospitals and health-related training institutions should be equipped with internet connectivity, and ICT infrastructure such as computer laboratories and teleconferencing facilities to ensure a structured delivery of lectures by consultants, researchers, and health care professional groups at a specific time to help disseminate new trends in health care provision and supervised by district assemblies.

It urged government to increase the budget for training of health professionals and also support the establishment of e-learning platforms to widen access to training of health professionals across the length and breadth of the country.

It called for frequent educational programmes, workshops, and other sensitization programmes particularly at the grassroots or community levels to ensure that people buy into the e-health concept.

“It is the expectation of all that the recommendations made by the School and Conference will be adopted by the Government of Ghana and other stakeholders in order to make ICT a real game changer in promoting universal health,” the communique stated.

Source: GNA

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