MoH inaugurates Health Technology Assessment initiative

THE Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu yesterday inaugurated the National Steering and Technical committees for the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) initiative.

HTA is the systematic evaluation of properties, effects and impacts of health technologies through a multidisciplinary process that evaluates the social, economic, organisational and ethical issues of health interventions or major health technology.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is piloting the use of HTA to inform decisions on prioritisation in cost-containment and sustainability strategies of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

This is being applied to the selection of medicines and development of Standard Treatment Guidelines (STG) for hypertension, which has been identified as a cost driver under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

At the inauguration ceremony in Accra, the Minister stated that institutionalising HTA in Ghana would seek to ensure that policy decisions at all levels of the health system were based on evidence.

He also mentioned that there was the need to use HTA to bridge the gap in identifying the most cost-effective diagnostic, preventive and curative interventions as well as support reimbursement decisions on vaccines, medicines, screening and preventive programmes.

The NHIS, he said was a logical beneficiary of the positive impact of HTA on the country’s health system.

“From the design and management of benefits package to the determination of the reimbursement list of medicines as well as price setting mechanisms, HTA is seen as a useful tool amongst other considerations to help assure value for money,” he added.

Mr Agyeman-Manu further revealed that the MoH had set up a National Medicine Pricing Committee to oversee the implementation of the new medicines pricing regime under the National Medicine Policy.

This committee, he said, would collaborate with the HTA Technical Committee to ensure synergy of effort.

The Minister hoped that the initiative would go a long way in sustaining the gains made in ensuring optimisation of policy decisions as well as the rational and cost-effective use of medicines for all persons living in Ghana.

Madam Elizabeth Peacoke, a representative of the International Decision Support Initiative (IDSI) in her remarks indicated that her outfit focused on building institutional knowledge within existing health systems to enable countries lead their own progress towards universal health coverage with support from international partners.

She said “Ghana’s HTA institutionalisation could lead to Ghana being a regional hub on the continent to help provide technical assistance to other African countries.”

As the first Sub-Saharan African nation to introduce the NHIS in 2003, Ghana, she said, had shown its commitment to achieving universal health coverage by 2030.

A secretariat to support the implementation of the HTA was also commissioned during the event.  Picture/AYEH

BY RAISSA SAMBOU

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