Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has reiterated Government’s determination to achieve universal health coverage and access for every Ghanaian through the implementation of strategic policies and programmes.
Targeted reductions in taxes charged on imported medicines, the payment of almost 90% of inherited debts owed the National Health Insurance Scheme while staying current on present running costs, as well as plans to dramatically increase the number of health service staff under the soon-to-be-inaugurated Nation Builders Corps are all parts of the plan to broaden access to health care.
“Achieving universal health coverage is not easy, and for any government it will represent a major burden on the budget. But the Government of Ghana under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is very committed to universal health coverage”, Vice-President Bawumia declared at the opening ceremony of the Ministry of Health and Development Partners’ 2018 Health Summit in Accra on Monday, 23 April 2018.
While remaining current on current obligations, Government has also paid GHS1billion out of the GHS1.2billion of the debt owed the National Health Insurance Authority the government inherited on assumption of office 15 months ago, which was affecting delivery of health services, Dr Bawumia indicated.
“We have also removed the 17.5% VAT on essential imported medicines to reduce the cost of medicines,” he continued, adding “We have re-instituted the abolished nurses training allowance to allow training of essential health personnel.
“We are looking at innovative ways to deliver blood supplies as well as essential medicines to remote areas. As the rains come in some areas are going to be cut off. Do we allow mothers to die because we cannot have blood supplies or essential medicines? So I’m glad to report that Ghana I think this week will be signing an MOU and by the middle of this year or maybe by September we will join Malawi and Rwanda in using drone technology to deliver blood supplies and essential medicines.”
Alluding to the lack of ambulances which has hampered the operations of the National Ambulance Service, Vice-President Bawumia indicated that government, through the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, which works with the three Development Authorities, has begun the process of procuring ambulances for all 275 constituencies in the country to augment the aging fleet of the Ambulance Service.
“We are also very cognisant of the importance of making sure there is adequate staffing of the health facilities, and on May 1st the President is going to be launching the Nation Builders Corps where we want to provide work for a lot of our tertiary graduates to help in nation building. We have 7 modules for the Nation Builders Corps and one of the modules is the health module.
“We have quite a number of nurses and health assistants who are sitting at home. They have qualified for years and they have not been engaged. We have now engaged the Ghana Health Service” to engage thousands of nurses and health assistants “to be part of the Nation Builders Corps for contracts of up to three years to provide health services to our people so that we can post them to the areas where they are needed,” Vice-President Bawumia disclosed.