From left: Gabriel Bernaku, Dr. Emmanuel Odame, Director at MoH, Alexander KK Abban and Dr. Owen Kaluwa
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has begun the process of developing a Universal Health Coverage (UHC) roadmap which will focus on strengthening primary healthcare delivery in health facilities across the country.
The roadmap, which is currently under discussion, forms part of government’s activities aimed at attaining UHC.
The roadmap would include increasing National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) enrolment and keeping members active, making CHPS compounds fully functional throughout the country, increasing service providers’ capacities and availability at all levels, with priority at sub-district level and producing and retaining human resources for health.
Other activities under the roadmap are the improvement of quality of care, patients’ satisfaction and services acceptability, increasing private sector and civil society engagement and the redesign of service delivery system of the health sector, among others.
Deputy Minister of Health Alexander K. K. Abban, who spoke at the 2019 World Health Day in Accra, said the roadmap would ensure healthcare meet the health needs and aspiration of people throughout the country.
“People will have access to curative and preventive services to take care of common diseases; evidence-based high impact interventions; public health intervention to promote mental and physical health and emergency care. In addition are rehabilitative and palliative care,” he said.
Mr. Abban explained that to achieve the goal of UHC, the country has identified primary healthcare as one of the key strategies in implementing the roadmap for UHC in Ghana.
“This strategy is cost-effective and equitable way of delivering health service and helping countries at make progress towards UHC,” he pointed out.
World Health Day
The World Heath Day celebration, which is held annually on April 7, has this year been celebrated globally under the theme: ‘Universal Health Coverage, Critical Role of Primary Healthcare’.
The occasion for the celebration in Ghana was held at the MoH office with individuals from the health sector educating Ghanaians on the theme: ‘Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Everyone Everywhere.
Dr. Owen Kaluwa, World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, said the key to achieving UHC is ensuring that everyone has access to the health services they need, of good quality when they need them, rights in the heart of the community where they live without suffering financial hardship in doing so.
“Quality accessible PHC is the foundation of UHC as it is a whole society approach to health and well-being centred on the needs and preferences of individuals and societies,” he mentioned.
Dr. Kaluwa, therefore, commended government for having passionately embraced UHC, which all key health events or activities in the health sector over the past couple of years have carried a theme related to UHC.
Dr. Gabriel Bernaku, National Chair, Coalition of NGOs in Health, although optimistic that Ghana can attain UHC, highlighted that there are still some challenges that need to be addressed.
“There is a strong need for the state (MoH) to co-develop ‘community partnership model’ not just participation in health delivery. The state must also move beyond collaboration with CSOs to a partnership model (CSOs code of Ethics and partnership in health sector) which should be integral part of Ghana’s health system. Proper recognition and integration of social medicine in Ghana’s health system is crucial now! National CHPS policy should be financed without any reservation (tried and tested) (HR, infrastructure, technology, decentralisation, among many others),” he added.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri & Elizabeth Boateng