The Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign (UAHC) has appealed to the government to take a second look at healthcare promises it made in its 2012 manifesto and to work towards fulfilling them.healthcare

At a press conference to review the government’s Better Ghana Agenda promises for the health sector vis-?-vis the 2015 budget statement, the group, which is a coalition of non-governmental organisations in health, spoke about promises which the government had made, the actions taken to fulfill them and the Campaign’s reaction to these.

They commended government for fulfilling some of the promises it had made and these include government’s promise to establish new district hospitals and more polyclinics in each of the 10 regions of Ghana.

According to Mr. Braimah Abdullah, Executive Director of Rural Workers and Children Development Agency, the government had allocated 37 million Euros to construct 15 polyclinics in Central and Greater Accra regions which would benefit 11 communities in the Central Region and five in the Greater Accra Region.

The government has also responded very quickly to the threat of Ebola by setting up an isolation and disease management centre at Tema, with another under construction in Tamale and one to be constructed in Kumasi.

He said this was a fulfillment of its promise to establish new infectious diseases management centres.

Mr Abdullah said some midwifery and nurses training colleges were being expanded and new ones built, adding that the government was also working with the Nurses and Midwives Council to reintroduce the certificate programme and establish more facilities for training auxiliary nurses in conjunction with the private sector.

They also commended the government for contributing to the procurement of anti-retroviral medicines for persons living with HIV/AIDS, giving traditional medical practitioners a place at health facilities as well as dispensing both traditional and orthodox medicines in compliance with the Traditional Medicine Practice Act 2000, Act 575.

The district mutual health insurance scheme has also been phased out as promised and the NHIS now uses a biometric registration system which has increased the number of active members to 10.14 million.

The Campaign, however, noted that government, two years into its four-year term of office had failed to fulfilled other equally important promises which it made in its manifesto relating to health and urged it to urgently work on fulfilling them.

These include the promise to double the number of CHPS compounds from about 1,600 to about 3,200 to meet the needs of underserved communities, out of which only 724 CHPS zones were made functional in 2014.

Another promise left unfulfilled according to the UAHC was the one to establish regional hospitals in the Eastern Region at Koforidua, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region and was in the Upper West Region.

They said although the Ministry of Health had completed the Tarkwa District Hospital and phase II projects of polyclinics at Nkrankwanta, Wamfie, Kwatre, Bmaa and Techiman as well as phase II of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, there is none in the Eastern Region while the one at Wa is yet to be completed.

“We will be glad if government can explain to Ghanaians what it will take to complete these projects” they stated.

The Campaign noted with concern the health sector budget for 2015 of 9.47%, which falls short of the 15% stated by the. Abuja Declaration to which Ghana is a signatory, and only a marginal increase on the 2014 figure of 9.26%.

They expressed support for government’s decision to push for additional VAT on fee-based services and real estate, proceeds of which will be channeled into the national health insurance scheme.

The Coalition urged the Ministry of Finance to indicate to the public how much had been collected from the voluntary 10% pay cut from the President, his cabinet and government appointees and how many CHPS compounds had been constructed with this money.

” We are urging the Ministry of Finance to publicly declare how much the NHIL levy has generated over the years and state how much it disbursed to the NHIA,” they added.

“The Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign will continue to monitor its progress year after year, to endure that these promises are fulfilled and every Ghanaian especially women, the poor and marginalised have access to healthcare without necessarily paying for it at the point of use” they said.

GNA

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