The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, has directed that the recruitment of casual health workers should cease forthwith. At the 2017 Health Summit in Kumasi, Mr Agyemang Manu said all facilities and directorates have been requested to submit a list of all casuals on their staff being paid with internally generated funds to the Ministry by the end of April. The event was to enable the Ministry and stakeholders in the health sector to review their performance in the last year and plan for this year.
They used the period to discuss their achievements and failures during the year especially the performance of the health sector in the implementation of the 2016 programme of work. Speakers said there are all indications that they have recorded significant performance in some areas. Their efforts at bridging the equity gap continue to show some improvements. Improvements were also registered in the coverage of family planning services and immunization coverage, which scored positive. However, their performance in institutional neonatal mortality rate, institutional maternal mortality rate, still birth rate and the proportion of pregnant women who receive ARVs to help prevent maternal to child transmission deteriorated.
The Minister also demanded deliverables that will enable his sector achieve the objects of the health related Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to ensure health and well-being for all at all ages by improving reproductive, maternal and child health . He noted that the government is keenly aware of the challenges that confront the National Health Insurance Scheme during the year and taken steps to ensure that the Scheme remains vibrant. He expressed serious concerns about the increasing cost per encounter and the wide range of exemptions which continue to pose a challenge to the Fund. He announced that the accounts owed by the NHIA to providers in respect of May, 2016 will be settled by the close of the week or early next week.
Government is also preparing to inject some good amount of money any moment from now which will enable the Authority to settle about three months of arrears by the end of May or June. Thereafter, it is anticipated that monthly releases from the Finance Ministry will be forthcoming. “Our performance will also show the continuing disparity between regions, especially between the three northern regions and the rest.” The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Nsiah Asare, assured of their target to achieve Universal Health Coverage by the end of the four-year term of the current government. He encouraged participants to come out with innovative ideas to improve their performance this year. The Otumfuo Manwerehene, Baffour Osei Hyiaman Bretuo, who represented Asantehene, called on Parliament to consider a legislation making it obligatory on successor administrations to continue projects on which approved budgetary resources had been spent. He made the call against the background of the abandonment of several projects including the Accra to Kumasi highway on which billions of national resources had already been spent, leaving vast communities in abject despair.
“Thankfully, the last administration did make up some grounds but we are still living with the consequences of the abandonment of projects, stretching back to the First Republic.” “Nowhere is this more manifest than in our flagship healthcare centre of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. 42 years ago, the government of General Kutu Acheampong began what was to be a landmark Paediatric Centre at the Hospital. “The project was abandoned on the fall of the Acheampong government. President John Kufour at the head of the first NPP government reactivated the project and carried it to the point where its gleaming seven-storey structure shines in the skyline around the Hospital. “But although more than 60 per cent complete and now requiring the finishing touches and the equipment to be put to use, the project has been abandoned since [Former] President Kufuor left office.”