When he accuses Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo of being predisposed towards the incitement of ethnic and regional divisions, Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem, the National Democratic Congress’ Member of the Parliamentary Health Committee, is actually referring to former President John Dramani Mahama, who vigorously campaigned for the presidency on ethnically and regionally divisive lines (See “Capitation Saga: Osafo-Marfo [sic] Ignorant – MP” Starrfmonline.com / Modernghana.com 7/17/17).
On the surface of things, Dr. Kuganab-Lem may appear to have his argument on the National Health Insurance Authority-issued Capitation Grant, which was geared towards simplifying the payment of healthcare providers by ensuring that patients selected a single primary healthcare physician/provider for their healthcare needs, down pat. The problem here, though, is that many a primary healthcare provider is a general practitioner, which means that other non-primary healthcare providers would have to inevitably be roped into the National Health Insurance Scheme’s payment system. This is where the problem of paying healthcare providers may be coming from. In other words, it clearly appears that any difficulties being experienced vis-à-vis the prompt and efficient payment of healthcare providers is coming from the way and manner in which the payment system was established to deal with non-primary healthcare providers. Dr. Kuganab-Lem is, however, right to observe that in most technologically advanced economies, the piloted primary physician-centered healthcare provision is the norm. But Senior Minister Osafo-Maafo is equally right in observing that if the piloted payment system initiated by the Mahama regime were that efficient, why had the program not been extended to the rest of the country? Whatever the real problems may be, it is quite clear that the present system is not working as efficiently as it apparently was intended to be. Politicizing the issue, as the Senior Minister clearly appears to be doing, does little to resolve the problem. By the same token, adamantly refusing to accept the fact that the system put in place as a replacement and an improvement on the old payment method by Mahama regime operatives has not registered the desired impact, does not get us very far. What obviously needs to be done, is for a bipartisan working group to be established to work out the kinks and smoothen things out. Indeed, it wasn’t for nothing that our ancestral sages are widely known to have counseled that “Two Heads Are Better Than One.” So far, the problem we are saddled with, as a country, are two major political parties that falsely pretend to be functionally and ideologically different. And, indeed, there is an unconscionable method to the madness of the apparatchiks of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, which Justice Jones Dotse eloquently and tersely summarized as follows: “Create, Loot and Share.” But at heart, the key operatives of both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC believe in the rapid and salutary advancement of the country, except that the NDC party-machine operatives do not seem to know precisely how to or particularly care to put in the sort of heavy-lifting effort and visionary zeal required for such rapid and massive socioeconomic advancement to become a reality. In sum, the NDC operatives prefer to dream about our national development agenda, while their NPP counterparts haunch down to do the requisite hand-soiling heavy-lifting that the problem requires.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 17, 2017
E-mail: [email protected]