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Remove barriers to quality healthcare – African Center for Health Policy tells Gov’t|9/25/2018

The African Center for Health policy  [ACeHP], has called for a stronger and well-managed health system in the country to meet international standards and the millennium development targets. According to them, there are some health barriers in the country that makes easy access to healthcare unattainable by the poor and the marginalized in the Ghanaian society. In a press statement signed by Mr. Ahmed Farhan, Executive Director of the Center, called for African governments to be committed at providing for the health needs of their citizens.

ACeHP cited Ghana’s failing National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) as further proof of the ailing health sector in the country, with the government doing virtually little or nothing at all to help the situation.“Events (management of NHIS) in Ghana have shown that availability of a health insurance scheme does not necessarily positively influence utilization of healthcare. Instances where clients are made to pay/co-pay for NHIS covered services indicates the major managerial inefficiencies of the system”

According to ACeHP, health inequalities in areas such as gender, culture, religion and economy, is on a decline, and as a result adversely affects the country’s effort of achieving Universal health coverage.“Health disparities and inequalities along the path of economic, geographic, social, gender, culture, religion and ethnic lines have worsened and reduced the odds of achieving UHC. It has led to heightened inequities in benefits, access, health expenditure, and inefficiencies” the statement read.

NHIS may grind to halt in less than 12 months – NHIA BossThe National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) may not exist as we know it in less than 12 months’ time because of its financing challenges, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) CEO, Dr. Samuel Annor admitted in an interview with Citi News

The NHIA CEO has long held that the scheme had run out of funds to operate.“Between 2009 and now, we have just been piling debts,” Dr. Annor said of the NHIS.As a result, the scheme may be dysfunctional come 2019.As it stands now, the NHIS has GHc1.2 billion to look after 11 million Ghanaians. This works up to about GHc 110 per person.Excerpts of ACeHP press statement.Universal Health Coverage (UHC): A Smokescreen for Ghana ?, Africa Centre for Health Policy AsksIn many African countries, maternal and child mortality figures fell short of the MDGs targets and achieving the SDGs remains a daunting challenge for many.

Health disparities and inequalities along the path of economic, geographic, social, gender, culture, religion and ethnic lines have worsened and reduced the odds of achieving UHC. It has led to heightened inequities in benefits, access, health expenditure, and inefficiencies.

Universal Health Coverage signifies the collective crack of all partners in health with a resolve to providing quality and equitable healthcare access to all citizens at very affordable cost, to avoid the risk of impoverishing households or decreased catastrophic healthcare expenditures on patients in their quest to seek quality healthcare.Investing in health pays and has impressive outcomes such as reductions in child, maternal mortalities and increased life expectancies for the general populace.

Essential infant-maternal sensitive and specific health interventions significantly reduces rates of mortalities recorded and reposes confidence in the health system.In Ghana, many Ghanaians especially pregnant women and children continue to face several barriers in accessing healthcare.Many pregnant women still lose their lives and many record still-births during attempts to access healthcare.In the last two weeks, media reports indicates that Seven Women have lost their lives in NorthernRegion in trying to access healthcare resulting from poor and inaccessible road networks.

Few of such many cases are a pregnant woman who died with her unborn baby in trying to access healthcare in Kubori of the Mamprugu-Mogduri district but road to the clinic was cut-off.Another pregnant woman who was being carried across a river in Nangruma in the Mamprugu district of Northern Region lost her baby because of prolonged labor as reported by JoyNews on 14th September, 2018. Many of these are recorded daily in Ghana and across Africa which affects the dignity of man.

A Memo dated 2nd September, 2018 from the medical director of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital stated clients seeking care for wound dressing and minor stitches would have to pay ¢50.00 and extra ¢20.00 if anesthesia is required.  With these barriers, the efforts to the UHC 2030 will end up as another underachieved MDG.

The barriers surrounding easy access to healthcare continues to prevent many and the less privileged from accessing quality healthcare and it is quite evident that government is not putting in adequate efforts to salvaging the situation.African governments must take vested interest in making quality healthcare available to all category of persons.We need a strong and well-managed health system to ensure universal access to healthcare in Ghana and Africa. Invest in health and remove the barriers to healthcare.

Source: Citinewsroom.com/Ghana

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