General News of Tuesday, 20 March 2018
The Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has urged government to implement some recommended policies that will help the health sector generate and sustain funds as the country gears slowly away from donor support.
The country’s increasing budget for the National Health Insurance Scheme has raised financial sustainability concerns with the country experiencing a significant drop in donor support between 2005 and 2012.
The current state of Ghana’s Health sector can best be described as distressed, with many fearing a total return of the ‘Cash and Carry’ system where patients are forced to pay before getting medical attention.
But speaking at a stakeholder’s dialogue on “The future of sustainable health care financing in Ghana”, Director of Advocacy and Public Engagement at CDD-Ghana, Dr. Kojo Asante said while the prospect for generating additional resources may not be promising, certain measures, when taken will help plug some of the loopholes that are draining the health sector.
According to him, this will be possible if the NHIS becomes a strategic purchaser of services in order to prevent unnecessary expenditure.
“Addressing the NHIS issue is very important to the health sector because it’s the direct interface with the public. Once the problems there are addressed then government can get that grace period and room to fix other problems like the decentralization and referral issues.
Government can look at strategic purchasing approaches such as rational benefit package design, implementation of provider payment systems that discourage excessive spending and effective negotiation of drugs.
Government can also introduce more effective regulation policies that govern referral from lower to higher levels of care.
but it is also important to note that political competition has contributed to the biases in policy and resource allocation with respect to emoluments among others. This, when checked will bring help the sector. ”
The presentation also witnessed a stakeholder’s dialogue with representatives from the Ministry of Health and the NHIA.
Expressing his concern, the Chief Executive Officer for the National Health Insurance Authority, Dr. Samuel Annor said it is important for all arrears accumulated over the years to be paid off so better services can be given to the public.
He urged the ministry to pay particular attention to the various challenges laid out including the procurement of drugs into the country.
The recommendations was given after a research conducted by CDD-Ghana in partnership with the Health, Finance and Governance team of USAID, Ghana.