Government has paid GH¢600 million to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), out of its total indebtedness to the scheme, which has improved funding and smooth running of hospitals, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, said.
In line with government’s commitment to reviving the NHIS, the Ministry of Health setup technical teams to review the recommendations of the NHIS Review Report. The Finance Minister made this known when he presented the 2018 Budget Statement in Accra on the theme; “Putting Ghana Back to Work.” He said in the area of infrastructure, construction of classroom blocks for health training institutions at Sampa, Asankragua, Pantang and Korle-Bu Critical Care and Peri-operative Unit was completed this year. He noted that the following projects are also at various stages of completion; four district hospitals at Kumawu, Fomena, Abetifi and Takoradi European Hospital, the Tamale Teaching Hospital Phase 2; and two regional and six district hospitals at Wa, Sewua, Salaga, Konongo, Tepa, Nsawkaw, Atomic and Twifo Praso. The others are; 10 polyclinics at Bisease, Gomoa Dawurampong, Binpong Egya, Ekumfi Nakwa, Etsii Sunkwa, Biriwa, Akunfude, Jamra Mankrong and Potsin; in the Central Region; five polyclinics at Oduman, Sege, Bortianor, Ashaiman and Adenta in the Greater Accra Region. He said the number of institutional maternal deaths per 100,000 live births reduced from 167.5 in June 2016 to 149.7 in June 2017. However, institutional infant mortality per 1000 live births increased from 5.8 to 7.5. Mr Ofori-Atta said the health sector challenges affected the purchase of vaccines, resulting in lower than targeted immunization coverage in the first half of 2017. In 2018, the Ministry would continue to address the vaccine challenges that the country had faced over the last eight years and develop a clear sustainability plan for vaccines and antiretroviral medicines in anticipation of the country’s exit from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. He said the focus of health sector activities in 2018 would be directed at reducing morbidity and mortality (especially maternal and neonatal), and improve the quality of life. “This will be achieved by increasing access to quality health services and improving efficiency in the governance and management of the health delivery system,” he said. The Finance Minister said government, in 2018, would explore the possibility of weaning selected health agencies off its subvention and the Ministry of Health would develop a medical tourism policy in collaboration with stakeholders.