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Politics of Wednesday, 25 November 2020


NDC's free primary healthcare promise only a campaign rhetoric - Danquah Institute

Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Richard Ahiagbah Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Richard Ahiagbah

Public policy analysis and research centre, Danquah Institute, has described as vain, a promise by the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress to pursue a Free healthcare policy if elected.

According to the centre, the former president together with his party do not have a sound track record in the health sector as far as delivery and debt payment is concerned.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, the Executive Director of Danquah Institute Richard Ahiagbah made the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) under erstwhile Mahama administration the point of reference in his argument.

He said the NDC administration which preceded the current Akufo-Addo government supervised an ailing health sector which had been overridden by debt.

Mr Ahiagbah added that the NHIS which was introduced by the NPP in 2003 was nearly collapsed by Mahama government.

“It is worth noting that the Free Primary Health Care Policy is premised on the non-payment of premiums. Intuitively, the 75% of Ghanaians whose point of call for healthcare delivery are district hospitals, CHPS compound or polyclinic would cease paying premiums,” he said.

Adding that “Barring the mitigating measures, this would lead to a collapse of the NHIS and would likely set the country back in the progress made thus far…”

Questioning the capacity and commitment of the NDC to fulfil their promise, he wondered why a government which nearly collapsed the health system in the country would later turn around and promise roses in another term.

He argued; “It would be recalled that in 2016, despite the premium payments by beneficiaries, the NHIS was at the brink of collapse with a debt of GH¢1.2bn accrued between 2013 and 2016…the Free Primary Healthcare Policy appears a mere campaign rhetoric by the NDC as it raises concerns about first, the commitment and capacity of the NDC to promote accessible healthcare…and the feasibility…”

The Mahama-led NDC in their People’s Manifesto promised to provide what he calls urgent transformational solutions to the challenges confronting the county’s health system.

He has reiterated in media interactions that the policy will cost about GHC1.4b annually.

According to John Mahama the Free Healthcare will be the largest social intervention programme in the country.