Ghana has started developing a Universal Health Care (UHC) roadmap that if finalised, would ensure timely access to quality health care irrespective of ability to pay at the point of use.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Alexander Abban disclosed that a package of key health services –UHC Package of Care–would be made accessible throughout the country irrespective of age, gender and social status by 2030.
Speaking at the commemoration of the 2019 World Health Day in Accra yesterday, he said the package included curative and preventive services for common diseases; emergency care and interventions to promote mental and physical health.
The World Health Day is observed every April 7, to create global health awareness. This year’s celebration is on the theme, ‘Universal health coverage, with focus on critical primary health care’.
The Member of Parliament for Gomoa West in the Central Region, said public health care had been identified as one of the key strategies in implementing the roadmap because it was the cost effective and equitable way of delivering health services globally.
Other strategies in the roadmap, currently under discussion, he said included increase of National Health Insurance Scheme enrolment, strengthening of Community-based Health and Planning Services (CHPS) and human resource production and retention.
He listed others to include improvement of quality of care and patients’ satisfaction, increase private sector and civil society engagement and increase in financial resources.
Aside the health impacts of UHC, Mr Annan, said the coverage was key to reducing poverty, promoting equity and called for strengthening of partnership to complement government’s services.
Dr Owen Kaluwa, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, noted that ensuring timely, easily accessible and cost effective quality health services were key to achieving UHC.
He commended Ghana for strengthening primary health care through the CHPS concept and called on the government and its stakeholders to make the concept more functional to unleash its full potential.
To attain UHC, he advocated the strengthening of health system including health financing, essential medicines, health products and technologies, health system governance, health statistics and information; service delivery and safety and healthy workforce.
Dr Kaluwa said the WHO was collaborating with other organisations to accelerate support to countries to re-align their services and consider strategic shift to achieve UHC, following a report which identified bottlenecks, including low funding, in achieving UHC.
Dr Gabriel Bernaku, Executive Director, Coalition of NGOs in health, called on the government to firm up collaboration with the private sector to achieve UHC.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR