The much-talked about drone delivery of essential medicines and blood to health facilities in hard-to-reach communities would commence next month.
The Operators of the Fly Zipline Ghana are expected to transport 149 key medical supplies across the country to improve healthcare delivery with 14 million people expected to benefit from the service.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced this in Accra when he opened the Fifth Conference of the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA).
He said the Government was determined to improving healthcare, hence it had earmarked 2.5 per cent of taxes on goods and services towards healthcare delivery in Ghana.
He said government planned to leverage on technology for cost effective healthcare delivery towards attaining the universal health coverage of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Vice President Bawumia reiterated government’s policy to supply one ambulance to each of the 275 constituencies by June, this year, to supplement healthcare delivery as part of the inclusive transformation agenda.
He gave the assurance that government would pursue programmes and interventions towards social progress to improve quality of life and sustainable development and cited the National Health Insurance Scheme rolled out in 2003, the Free Senior High School Policy, and the digitisation of the health sector as examples.
Parliament, last year, gave approval to Fly Zipline Ghana to operate in the country to improve medical services in deprived communities.
Ghana will become the second nation in Africa, after Rwanda, to adopt the drone technology for distribution of medical supplies.
The four-day conference, which is also being used to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Association, is under the theme: ”Securing Primary Healthcare for All, the Foundation for Making Progress on Universal Health Care in Africa”.
The meeting attracted more than 450 members of the Association, comprising health experts and practitioners, researchers and students, who would discuss health outcomes, policy analysis and health financing, to facilitate health sector decision-making in Africa.
Diseases and sickness, the Vice President noted, do not know borders, politics or ethnicity and, therefore, called on all health practitioners and key stakeholders to rally together to find solution to health issues, especially as the African Continent lagged behind in many health indicators.
Vice President Bawumia said African nations needed to double their efforts to curb the high infant mortality rate so as to meet the SDG target by 2030 and called for multi-disciplinary approach to deal with the health challenges.
He called for increased investment in healthcare infrastructure and human capacity by African countries in order to achieve primary healthcare towards meeting the global healthcare benchmark.
Dr Chris Atim, the Executive Director of the African Health Economics and Policy Association, in his welcome address, said the Association was established on March 12, 2009 to promote and strengthen health planning services and analysis towards achieving equitable healthcare for Africa’s vulnerable people.
He said the Association intended to support African countries to achieve quality healthcare for their its citizens, suggest health policy interventions and also build the capacity of members through mentorship programmes and workshops geared towards accelerating healthcare.
There were fraternal messages from the Ghana Health Service, World Health Organisation, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.