By Benson AFFUL

Dr. George Kwadwo Amofa, a representative of Health & Social Protection in Africa Network (HeSPA) — a body that exchanges information on development partnerships for health and social protection — has said ?silo working? and mutual mistrust between the private and public sectors account for poor engagement between the two sectors.

Silo working, he said, is when one person working in the public or private sector feels he can do all by himself; and therefore he does not need any support from anybody.
He said the private sector also sees the public sector as a waste of resources, while the public sector thinks the private sector is always there for money. This, he said, amounts to mistrust between the two sectors; making it difficult for them to work in partnership.

Dr. Amofa was speaking at a stakeholders? meeting in Accra with the Strategic Alliance (STA) on Employee Well-being — a partnership of eight companies in Ghana promoting sustainable health for employees, families and communities. The alliance is supported by German agency GIZ, and also works with the Ministry of Health.
?No single ministry has the requisites to contribute to development of the people?s socio-economic lives, unless it builds partnership with the private sector. So in order to improve our health sector, there must be partnership.?

Using health us an example, he said the ?health for all vision? recognises that health is determined not only by the provision of medical care but also by economic, social, political and environmental variables in the communities where people live.

?The complexity of the health sector under this concept makes it understandable that no single ministry can provide the requisites to meet the target of health for all. Therefore, there must be partnerships to improve our health sector,? he said.

He said a successful alliance must be mutually beneficial, and that attracting partners may not be possible without understanding the resources, technical skills and assets of each partner.

He said there is a need to develop joint institutional frameworks for decision-making and monitoring of implementation, such as formation of a multi-stakeholder coordinating committee — adding that partners should recognise and utilise the comparative advantage of each partner.

He said HeSPA aims to contribute to sustainable strengthening of the engagement and efficiency of the private sector imitative in health and social protection for Ghana.
He said the network seeks to achieve this by supporting national structures with the implementation of health facilities in all organisations, and also strengthening the private sector unit of the Ministry of Health.

Under the Employee Well-being Project, companies offer comprehensive health screenings directly at the workplace. The project, which was launched in 2010, aims to strengthen relevant national systems that deliver health, social protection and environmental management.

Ms. Sofia Lissa, Public Relations Manager of UT Group, said the EWP challenges employers and government to foster healthy lifestyle changes among employees and their families, in addition to more traditional occupational health and safety concerns.

She said partner organisations tend to be forward-looking, interested in effective use of their resources, and can act as role-models for other organisations. The programme has a systemic impact by raising health care standards and injecting greater resources into national and social protection systems. FIN


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