#SOTNGhana: Better healthcare boosts life expectancy by 14yrs

President John Dramani Mahama says Ghana’s life expectancy which was forty years at independence, has now increased by 14 years due to huge advancements in medicine and healthcare delivery.

Addressing Parliament on Thursday during his last State of the Nation Address for his first term, the President said the success has been achieved largely due to the country’s successes in medicine.

“Our life expectancy was a little over 40 years at independence. Today, life expectancy has increased by more than 14 years. This increase is due to advances in medicine, improvements in health infrastructure and the improved number of health personnel.”

He added that, “Not only are we living longer in our adult years, more infants are living to see those years. According to the Ghana Demographic and health survey, there has been a drastic in the rate of infant mortality and under-five mortality. Over the last decade, under-five mortality decreased from 111 to 60 per thousand live births. Infant mortality dropped by almost 305 from 64 to 41 per thousand live births. The mothers of these children are also surviving during pregnancy and child birth because antenatal and post-natal care has improved.”

The President said Government is set to invest heavily in education and preventive healthcare for the treatment of chronic and non-communicable diseases due to lifestyle choices in the coming years.

“The investment in preventive health is even more prudent as our nutritional habits continue to change,” he noted.

NHIS redesign

The President said financing for the health sector remains a challenge hence his decision to constitute a technical committee to make proposals that will contribute to a fundamental redesign of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Active NHIS membership drive

Despite the NHIS’ financial challenges, the President noted that scheme has witnessed a major boost in terms of subscription.

“2015 saw an active NHIS membership of 11.2 million people and that is 41% of our population. Out-patient utilization of the NHIS rose to 29.6 million in 2014, from 597,000 in 2005. For us this undeniable pattern of increased utilization of healthcare insurance bears ample testimony to the confidence that our people continue to have both in the scheme and in the health system.”

By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Follow @AfanyiDadzie