Government urged to outline strategies on improving primary healthcare

By Rashid Mbugri, GNA

Tamale, Jan 27, GNA – Mr Nii Ankonu
Annorbah-Sarpei, the Coordinator for Universal Access to Health Care Campaign
(UAHCC), has called on the government to outline clear strategies on improving
Primary Health Care (PHC) policy and financing for Ghana’s health sector.

This is to facilitate and ensure quality
healthcare delivery in the country in a move to achieve the Universal Health
Coverage (UHC) target by 2030.

Though, he said government was doing its best
to improve the healthcare delivery system, many facilities, including CHIPs
compounds, especially in the rural areas, were understaffed, resource
constrained and lacked logistics, thereby hindering functionality.

“The CHIPS policy and the NHIS policy which
are considered key national strategies towards achieving universal health
coverage in Ghana are not sufficient and contain gaps or misplaced priority
towards achieving Universal Health Coverage,” he said.

Mr Annorbah-Sarpei said this at a day’s post
budget forum with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the health component of
the 2020 budget organized by the UAHCC with support from Oxfam Ghana.

It was to help analyse the 2020 budget
statement and collate inputs from CSOs on how to help improve the health sector
and use those inputs to influence political parties’ manifestos and campaigns
towards improving the sector.

CSOs from the five regions in Northern Ghana
and some representatives from government agencies, including Ghana Health
Service, National Health Insurance Authority, Commission on Human Rights and
Administrative Justice and National Commission for Civic Education are

Research reports on analysis of the 2020
budget statement, indicate that budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Health
increased by 8.34 per cent in nominal terms from GH¢ 6,037,506,718 in 2019 to
GH¢ 6,587,092,478.00 in 2020.

It also indicated that contributions from
various revenue sources recorded slight changes in 2019 with the percentage
share of Ghana’s 2020 health budget reducing from 8.3 per cent in 2019 to 6.72
per cent in the 2020 budget statement.

The reports suggested this was likely to
affect government’s commitment to ensure that Ghana achieved UHC by 2030.

Also, donor contributions to the budget, had
seen significant decline from 13.18 per cent in 2019 to 6.27 per cent in 2020,
signaling more than 50 per cent reduction in donor contributions to the health

Mr Annorbah-Sarpei, who is also the Director
of Programmes, Alliance for Reproductive Health Right called on government to
establish a strategic policy on financing for the health sector, particularly
preventive healthcare, in order to forestall a situation of health underfunding
following cuts in donor funding.

He expressed reservations that about 70 per
cent of the country’s health fund spent on payment of personnel as compared to
goods and services and capital expenditure in addition to over reliance of the
sector on Internally Generated Fund.

He said if the situation was not reversed it
would have implications on quality healthcare delivery.

CSOs were urged to make commitments in
understanding and reviewing the components of the budgets and share its
implications with citizens to enable them demand improved health care services.

Participants advocated the need for government
to adequately resource and rehabilitate all CHIPS compounds across the country
and institute good incentive packages to help encourage health workers accept
postings to remote areas.

They also suggested to government to come out
with a clear framework policy with focus on bridging the gap between resources
allocated on Compensation, Capital expenditure and on goods and services in the
health sector.

Additionally, they called for all political
parties to abide by the strategy, currently adopted by government, towards
achieving UHC, which is ensuring effective implementation of the CHIPS policy
and the NHIS to achieve UHC target by 2030.