The Ministry of Health is developing a working document to deal with the current bottlenecks in the public health sector supply system, Mr. Alban S.K. Bagbin, Minister of Health, has announced.

He said whereas access to basic health was a function of ready access to good quality and affordable health commodities, there were challenges in the supply chain system which affected commodity security.

Mr. Bagbin was addressing district and regional directors of health services and other unit heads at the 20th Annual District Directors Conference held in Wa on Tuesday.

It was on the theme: “Strengthening the Sub-District System to achieve Millennium Development Goals four, five, and six, the role of the District Directors of Health Services”.

Mr. Bagbin explained that the worst tragedies in public health were the avoidable challenges for which solutions were known but remained inadequately addressed.

“We see evidence of these tragedies in our everyday lives with children dying of preventable illnesses, adults suffering from major diseases and women bearing unwanted babies in circumstances that foretell generations of suffering,” he pointed out.

The Sector Minister admitted that even though the supply chain had become more decentralised and the market had become liberalized to include private participation, the role of the Central Medical Stores had not been clearly defined.

Moreover, the financial sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme was threatened by poor availability and affordability of products in the public sector.

Mr Bagbin said the Ministry of Health was therefore developing a business plan that would deliver a five year master plan for the public health sector commodity.

The Plan would describe the precise pathway for transforming the health supply system from a non-performing system to the one that could guarantee ready access to good quality and affordable health commodities, he said.

The sector minister said a supply chain management unit would also be established along the lines of a statutory organisation under the plan and called on health directors to make inputs into the vision.

Mr. Bagbin said government was committed to ensuring that health workers, especially those working in difficult communities were well motivated and gave the assurance that very soon incentive packages beyond salaries would be rolled out to allow health directors to recruit and retain health workers in the deprived districts.

He said the ministry would within this year provide directives to ensure the full decentralisation of the human resource administration and management to allow health managers to put in place systems that would allow them to build the full complement of their human resources to enable them to meet their objectives.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, said the Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) concept which was introduced to make health services planning and delivery closer to the people and bridge the gap between the urban and rural communities was significant not only in attaining health services goals but also in sustaining them.

He said it was therefore imperative that CHPS compounds were scaled up to reach out to more rural people and encourage the district assemblies to assist in providing those facilities while the ministry of health also provides adequate finances to help the facilities to operate effectively.

Alhaji Sulemana appealed to health development partners and international community to continue to support deprived areas such as the Upper West Region which was still faced with problems of critical manpower shortages in key health institutions.

The Ghana Health Services should also consider posting more health personnel to the region to improve the current inadequate number of qualified health personnel in the region.

Source: GNA

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