Increase health sector budget from 8 to 15% – UAHCC

The Health and Finance ministries have been tasked to ensure that the eight per cent budgetary allocation to the health sector be increased to about 15 per cent with emphasis on capital expenditure and goods and services.

The increment is to ensure that the health sector is adequately financed like other sectors of the economy.

The two ministries have also been asked to speed up the development of a National Primary Health Care Policy to improve access to primary healthcare.

It must also improve Essential Health Services (EHS) package for primary health care, which align with national priorities outlined in the current Health Sector Medium Term Development Plan (2018 – 2021) and the SDG-3.

A communique issued by the Universal Access to Health Care Campaign (UAHCC), and Primary Health Care Advocacy Coalition (PHCAC) to the Government said it is crucial that the EHS package was aligned with the National Health Insurance Scheme benefit package to guarantee equitable access to primary healthcare and mitigate expenditure.

The communique, signed by Nii Ankonu Annorbah-Sarpei, the UAHCC/PHCAC Campaign Coordinator, also urged the two ministries to ensure timely disbursement of allocations to the health sector.

The UAHCC/PHCAC, made up of 50 civil society organisations, appealed to the two ministries to complete all health infrastructure projects including those started by the previous government.

The communique noted that it will be proper to complete unfinished projects instead of building new ones hence the need to increase the Annual Budget Funding Amount and Capital Expenditure allocation to the health sector.

It said water and sanitation issues must be integrated within the healthcare system to facilitate a strong intersectoral collaboration to maximize and consolidate gains in proving healthcare.

The communique stressed the need for government to allocate resources for preventive care to address the shift in disease burden as the country faced a looming crisis of people suffering from diabetes, hypertension and mental health ailments.

“We appeal to government to adopt a holistic and integrated approach to healthcare instead of vertical nature of health programming.”

The communique asked the Transport and Energy ministries to jointly invest in regional and district transportation and power networks to increase access to primary facilities.

“The Ministries of Health and Finance should engage the private sector to find alternative resources to finance and sustain the National Health Insurance Authority.”

“The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) should be reviewed so that the benefits package covers ambulance service, mental health care, family planning and dialysis treatment for the poor people suffering from kidney failures.”

The Communique called for the full implementation of the Electronic Claims Management System under the NHIS to improve efficiency and reduce fraud.

“We also call for the amendment of the NHIS Law to make crime against the Scheme more punitive and deterrent to potential fraudsters as well as intensify public education of the benefits of NHIS to enhance public trust,” it said.

The communique appealed to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to ensure equitable deployment of health workforce to undeserved regions, districts and communities.

The GHS should reduce reliance on retained Internally Generated Fund as health facilities burdened with this phenomenon are forced to generate funds by surcharging clients, it said.

It urged the GHS to address issues relating to the influx of fake or substandard drugs in the country noting that government agencies such as the Food and Drugs Authority should be resourced adequately to fulfil their mandates.

Source: GNA

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