The Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), with support from PharmAccess, on Tuesday, launched a revolving fund to help improve the health system.
Dubbed “Access to financing for CHAG facilities on Med4all platform” in Accra, the financing mechanism is aimed at enhancing the capacity of the health system to be responsive and resilient.
It is also to complement the government’s effort at ensuring continuity of essential health service amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Peter Yeboah, Executive Director CHAG, said access to affordable quality medicines was a pathway to fulfilling CHAG’s mission of providing quality health services to the poor, the needy, and the marginalized.
He said an effective supply chain system that ensured access, affordability, and quality was the way to promoting universal health coverage to Ghanaians.
He said the fund was intended to remove financing barriers in the procurement, distribution, prescription, and dispensing of medicines to clients, especially in the hinterlands.
Dr Yeboah said, in collaboration with pharmacists in Ghana, the CHAG launched the Med4all digital supply chain to ensure that subscribing member institutions had access on a digital level to medicines that were of utmost highest quality and guarantee by the Food and Drugs Authority.
He said to ensure that the hospitals had the essential medicines that were required, they were now embedding the programme with the funding arrangement so that the supply chain challenges that the country was experiencing and the issues of quality and access would be addressed.
“By so doing, our National Health Insurance Scheme that caters for mostly the diagnosis and treatment of common ailments and that ensures that all CHAG member that is key subscribers will be able to fulfil their roles as key partners.”
About 94 per cent of all clients visiting CHAG member institutions are subscribers to the NHIS so this arrangement has a collective benefit to the entire country.”
Dr Yeboah said while the Med4All was funded through the usual procurement mechanism, the current arrangement was an interest-free financing interim mechanism and the revolving nature of it would be a proof of concept if the institutions were able to repay the financing arrangement within an appropriate time frame.
“We are using this as a test case to make it more sustainable to attract certain key investments. This arrangement provides some ease for our institution to procure medicines on time, dispense medicines on time and to shot appropriate medicine on time and strengthen our national system.”
Dr James Duah, Deputy Executive Director, CHAG, said although the Med4all was still in process, they needed to provide services and medicines at all times, especially during these times of COVID-19.
He said the financing mechanism was to provide a backup to the entire health system and to avoid any adverse effect from lack of funding or access to medicine.
He said with the revolving fund, which starts today and would be rolled out for the next six months, all facilities on the med4all platform could order medicines and have access to money to pay for it.
“The good thing is that this money is interest-free. For now, we are putting this measure in place for the next six months and over this period, we hope that we would as a country be able to address the issue of COVID-19.”
“If you order you can notify the team. We want to make sure we have equity in terms of who gets what, so, by this mechanism, all the facilities on the platform would have to sign that they accept to receive funding from this. CHAG will provide a corporate guarantee on this, and if you hook on this, you have 90 days within which to pay, by that time you would have raised enough funds from your facility to pay.”
Dr Duah said the amount that any facility could access could not go beyond their original quarterly order and that was the limit, but there were some few whose volumes were high who would have access to about GHC200,000 per quarter.
Dr Maxwell Antwi, Country Director PharmAccess Ghana, said the facilities on the Med4all platform were not of equal sizes so based on the consumption forecast for medicine, all of them could access quarterly consumption of medicines and the value of it at no interest.
“We have also mentioned the issue of equity because we want to drive it in such a way that people do not over order because the money is at no cost. To ensure that everybody has a piece of the cake we would stick with the quarterly consumption that the providers or health facilities need and this would be revolved every quarter.”
Dr Antwi said there were about 60 CHAG facilities on the platform and so every quarter the process could be repeated.
After the first six months period, this whole programme would be reviewed based on the learnings and whether the monies could be fully accounted for.
He said the facilities have six months to pay back, but encouraged them to pay within three months so that they could take another one because as soon as you pay for whatever they had taken they could come in for another one.