The Health Minister designate, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has indicated he will plug revenue leakages in the health sector in order to increase healthcare financing.
Mr Agyemang-Manu, appointed by President Akufo-Addo two weeks ago, again stated the possibility of using some part of the oil revenue to increase funds for the health sector.
The health minister designate said these when he appeared before the Parliamentary Appointment Committee on Tuesday to be vetted for the ministerial portfolio.
He was responding to a question from Minority Leader Muntaka Mohammed on how he intends to increase financing in the health sector.
Explaining how he intends to plug the leakages in the health sector, Mr Agyemang-Manu stated that a control system will be set up to ensure proper accountability for funds used.
Touching on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr Agyemang-Manu said although the scheme is faced with challenges, he would not describe it as a collapsed one.
Responding to the question asked by Sampson Ahi, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bodi Constituency and a member of the Appointment Committee, on the description of the NHIS as a collapsed one when it has over 11m subscribers, Mr Agyemang-Manu said, “Collapsing might have been a very harsh word. But the bottom line is that when constituents come to us, they tell us the scheme has collapsed.”
He said patients with NHIS cards are sometimes detained because they cannot pay for medication and healthcare, “the reason why the president assigned me to the Health Ministry to see how to find sustainable funding for the NHIS.”
“The NHIA was not established to register members, so we don’t assess the activeness of the NHIA with membership number. We established NHIS with the objective to provide affordable, accessible healthcare to the people,” Mr Agyemang-Manu stressed.
He said the quality of care and access to free medication were some of the indicators that could be used to effectively to assess utilisation and not membership.
The NHIS has a utilisation rate of about 33million and a membership of 11 million persons as pointed, but Mr Agyemang-Manu stressed that the mandate of the NHIS stretches beyond membership.
Health Workers’ Agitation
The health minister designate said the agitations in the health sector can be brought down when OB Amoah, MP for Akuapem North, asked how he intends to resolve health workers’ agitation.
He said with proper management of the human resource and motivation, “I don’t think there will be strikes in the health sector. A well-motivated staff is more likely to refrain from strike. He will maintain a good relationship with labour unions.
“I have asked the ministry to do a detailed analysis of how much it will cost to restore nursing training allowances. It would probably be in our next budget but I don’t know when it will be restored,” he added.
Mr Agyemang-Manu, however, prayed for a six-month truce between the ministry and labour so he can understand the challenges the unionised employees face.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri