At the ongoing TICAD 7 in Japan, the Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has addressed participants at a side event on Sustainable UHC in Africa.

Presenting the work of his sector, which was on the topic “Sustainable UHC in Africa through Building Country Ownership”, Hon. Agyeman-Manu explained that the focus of establishing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2003 was to expand health care delivery at the lowest level.

The government then started with what was known as the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS), to enable more people to access health services. However, these systems, he said, need to be better utilised and health outcomes have to improve.

Hon. Agyeman-Manu said Ghana has made progress in the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) since the last TICAD in 2016. “We have added more than 1,500 CHPS in the last three years to reach the remotest areas of the country, functioning as an entry point to health services. We are expanding our health facility infrastructure at a low level where people can access basic Primary Health Care without challenges”.

He further pointed out that his ministry is improving on doctor and nurse population to ensure that qualified human resources for health care delivery in the country is available, adding “for nurses, our data indicates that we are doing better than the WHO standards. We are spreading across the country, these health professionals that we have trained”.

According to the Health Minister, Ghana with the support of the Global Fund launched the Improvement and Supply Chain Master Plan. This has helped to improve the health systems especially the supply chain management. “It looks like we have done a lot to the extent that now, we have through technology, have started distributing blood, vaccines and some essential commodities on the drone platform”, he said.

The Health Minister disclosed that the first distribution centre for the Fly-To-Save a Life project has been launched and distribution of medical supplies is ongoing. After this centre, three more distribution centres will be constructed to cover the whole nation, adding “they can fly what we need to the remote areas very quickly”.

He also revealed that his sector is applying technology and have started digitizing the health sector. “As I speak, we piloted one region, and have linked 36 facilities that belong to the state. They speak to each other”, the Minister said, adding that the Ministry is in the process of linking all facilities in the country so that patients need not carry hard copy folders across the country when referred to another facility.

Another area the Health Minister touched was the health insurance scheme. He announced that the Health Ministry is also improving and reviewing systems within the health insurance window such that people can access health care services without financial challenges.