Private health sector is key to making Ghana medical tourism hub — Minister
Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Minister of Health, has called for a strategic collaboration with the Private Health Sector towards making the country a “Medical Tourism Hub” in the sub-region.
The Minister, who made the call at the “Second Private Health Sector Summit 2022”, in Accra, in a speech read on his behalf, said the Ministry was developing a policy to position Ghana in that regard.
The Hub will entail pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, finance, healthcare, and other relevant areas that enhance healthcare.
Mr Manu, who said government was committed to facilitating collective participation of the private sector, admonished them and all stakeholders to align efforts towards implementation of the National Health Policy and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) roadmap.
He commended the private sector for its contribution towards healthcare, especially in areas such as health promotion, finance, supply chain, and human development, that government could not have tackled solely.
To enable the Ministry obtain reliable national health data for decision making and intervention, the Minister called on all stakeholders to share vital information for the tracking of progress, saying that could enhance the step towards attainment of UHC.
The Ministry, he said, was opened to receiving proposals from the private sector and development partners to enhance healthcare delivery.
Dr Amit N. Thakker, Chairman of the Africa Health Business, in a keynote address via a virtual platform, reiterated the importance of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) in the health sector.
He noted that there were some African countries that had successfully reduced their COVID-19 case mortality from five per cent to one per cent, including Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, through PPP.
He said there had also been access to technology, human resource and skills, expansion of access to quality health service, access to finance, realisation of the New Public Health Order for Africa, and promotion of ownership of health programmes at the local level through PPP.
Under the New Public Health Order for Africa, there were action-oriented partnerships, investment in public health workforce and leadership programmes, a strengthened Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Public Health Institutions and expanded manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, he said.
Dr Thakker expressed optimism that Africa would rise to the point where it no longer imported 99 per cent of its vaccines but produced at least 60 per cent of them latest by 2030 and called for stronger PPP across the continent to realise the dream.
Dr Alexander Martin-Odoom, President, Private Health Sector Alliance of Ghana, said it was unfortunate that the Alliance had been dormant for a few years now due to COVID-19, lack of infrastructure and financial stress.
He said the private sector had put together a “buffet” of ideas for deliberations at the summit, he said, and expressed the hope that the summit produced interventions to re-fuel the private health sector towards the attainment of UHC.
Dr Yisa Barnabas, Resident Representative, UNFPA, said 25 per cent of health care was delivered by private health facilities.
The private sector was also instrumental in creating relief to sustain government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the UNFPA, Dr Barnabas said strengthening the relationship with the private sector was paramount to achieving a zero maternal mortality, zero unmet needs of family planning and zero gender-based violence.
Funding partners of Ghana’s health sector had reduced, hence a stronger PPP was pivotal to make it possible for government to secure funding and logistics for the sector, he said.
Dr Holger Till, Health Advisor, GIZ Ghana, commended the Ministry of Health for the step to seek more collaboration, as partnership with the academics, civil society organisations, private health sector, and development partners was the best to ensuring that workers in the sector were healthy to deliver healthy output for a healthy population.