The Health Sector is reviewing its performance in the previous year towards developing better strategies to improve healthcare delivery across the country.
The 2018 Health Summit, which opened at the Labadi Beach Hotel, on Monday is the theme: “Achieving Universal Health Coverage-Using Innovative Approaches”. The-five-day event is part of the Sector Wide Approach Arrangement (SWAP) that the Ministry entered into with its partners.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, told the Summit that the findings of a holistic assessment, which reflected the general performance of the sector-based on the implementation of the 2017 Programme of Work, would, therefore, be presented and discussed.
“We have subjected our performance to the holistic assessment tool, based on available administrative data which, between stakeholders and us, provides an indication of year-on-year performance and, therefore, the bases for judgement on our performance,” he said.
He stated that there were indications that the sector had made noteworthy progress in various areas, for which it must be congratulated.
These included reducing mortality due to malaria, especially for children under five years.
However, sustaining the gains after the health sector development partners end their support to the malaria programme would become a challenge.
He urged all sundry in the health to, therefore, back President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s declaration of the commitment at the recent anti Malaria Summit in London, to eliminate the disease in Ghana.
He quoted the President as saying, “Ghana stands ready to beat malaria”, saying, this was a clarion call to all duty bearers.
He also mentioned the significant gains made in Childhood Immunisation, saying maintaining the coverage at such high levels was no mean an achievement, but the current challenge was how to reach the hard to reach island communities, which would form part of discussions at the Summit.
The Health Minister said there were still challenges and unmet targets, which included the unacceptably high Institutional Maternal Mortality and Neonatal Mortality, while the coverage of Antenatal services were dropping with stagnated records of skilled delivery coverage.
“I am aware of the challenge of non-availability of record books, which affects data collection,” he stated. “I can assure you that my office is making all necessary efforts to ensure adequate record books are procured to support the delivery of services”.
The sector’s compensation budget, he said, was also increasing yearly though there were still shortages of critical health care personnel across the country, especially in the three northern regions.
The issue of mal-distribution of staff should, therefore, be discussed in-depth at the Summit.
The anomaly, he said, must be corrected by strictly implementing policies that would make deprived areas attractive to young and enterprising health workers.
He charged Directors of Health Services at the various levels to play their parts in this endeavour by taking up the responsibility and ensuring that there was equitable distribution of staff within regions and districts.
Dr Rebecca Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional Director for Africa, commended Ghana for the various successes and efforts towards the achievement of UHC.
She said the on-going work to digitalise health records at the district level, the ‘combined Maternal and Child Health Record Book’, which linked the health records of a mother to her child, from pregnancy to birth, revealed the good work of the Health Ministry.
She said the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as a financing mechanism had lessened the financial burden of poor and vulnerable persons, and called for ways to consistently address efficiency and equity issues in the implementation of the NHIS and other access to health gaps, to sustain the gains made.
She said Ghana was leading the way in the implementation of NHIS in Africa and the lessons learnt would be valuable for the others.
The signals of the Government’s commitment to taking bold and concrete steps to achieve UHC in Ghana was clear, she said, and called on all including the private sector, to these efforts.
Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, said Ghana’s constitution guaranteed all to enjoy access to health care, hence the importance of striving to achieve UHC.
The Government, he said, had remained committed to this cause by ensuring the decentralisation of the procurement of essential medicines, ensuring due diligence, improving administrative