General News of Wednesday, 19 December 2012
There’s looming funding problem for the Ghana Health Service beginning next year as donor agencies that provide funding for the service are withdrawing because Ghana is now a middle income country.
The health service has therefore begun revising its strategies in order to be able to continue providing quality health care, and also raise funds for its activities such as immunization, training and research.
In 2010, the Ghana Statistical Service announced the country had attained middle income status.
Though good news, the repercussion is the reduction in aid-in-flows from agencies such as DFID, DANIDA and USAID. The Ghana Health Service must now find its own sources of funding for activities such as immunization, training and research.
Director General of the GHS, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Dankyira tells Joy News they are bracing themselves up for the rather unfortunate development.
He said because they now have to rely on their own resources, as a team is being put together to development guidelines to “ensure that we are able to rely more on ourselves”.
“We now have to look at how we disburse money, we also have to ensure that there are lot of things we should be able to do without money like immunization.”
It would also affect per diems the service gives to personnel during workshops as well as feeding, he said.
Dr Appiah-Dankyira was hopeful if the country is able to strategise well, its impact on Millennium Development Goal on Health would be minimal.
He said they are also looking forward to negotiate with the government to fund the service with the oil proceed.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Coalition of NGOs on health argued that the action by the donor agencies is premature. According to the coalition, Ghana’s new status does not necessarily imply an increase in the county’s wealth.
Advocacy Officer, Michael Boadi told Joy News the future would look bleak for Ghana should the donors carry through their threats.
He called for concerted efforts from the government, civil society and private sector to re-strategise.
The Ghana Coalition of NGOs on Health is also advocating a legislative policy on free universal health care.
The Coalition wants every Ghanaian to have access to free healthcare.
According to them, the National Health Insurance Scheme is not effective.
National Project Coordinator for Universal Access to Health Care, Sidua Hor says the implementation of the NHIS must be revised.
However, Deputy Health Minister, Rojo Mettle Nunoo says there are different ways of financing the scheme but the NHIS cannot do without premium.
In an unrelated development, the country’s Malaria Control Program is urging Ghanaians especially pregnant women to use mosquito nets.
The warning comes after a World Health Organization report indicates a global slowdown in the fight against malaria eradication.
According to the report, a concerted effort by endemic countries, donors and global malaria partners led to strengthening control around the world.
The report cited for example the number of long-lasting insecticidal nets delivered to endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa which dropped from 145 million in 2010 to an estimated 66 million in 2012.
In Ghana though reported cases have reduced, an officer at the malaria control program James Frimpong tells Joy News a lot more effort must go into the fight against malaria.