Health Minister, Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has staed that, quality affordable health care is the foundation for individuals to lead productive and fulfilling lives, and for countries to also have strong economies.
According to him, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that, people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship, and also help drive better health and development outcomes.
The UHC, he said, is a strategy to ensure all essential health services such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, non-communicable diseases and mental health, sexual, reproductive, newborn and child health are available, accessible and affordable to all who require them.
The Minister was speaking at the Commemoration of the 2018 World Health Day at the Ministry of Information in Accra on 11th April, 2018.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu spelt out that, SDG 3 is very essential element for the attainment of UHC, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
Adding that, SDG 1, with goal to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, is also in danger without UHC, as hundreds of millions of people are left penniless by health care costs every year. “Today, most low-and middle-income countries are designing and implementing strategies that are accelerating progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
According to Mr. Agyeman-Manu, UHC can also be determined by three critical dimensions; Who is covered?, What services are covered?, and How much of the cost is covered?.
He reiterated that, one of the aims of UHC is to create a system of protection which provides equality of opportunity for people to enjoy attainable level of health.
Health care, he said, should be considered as basic human right, in which the nation ensures every person is covered by equal health care, regardless of age, gender, income, ethnicity, race, or political colour.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu also noted that, “the NHIS is a pro-poor policy and offers a generous benefit package to its members. The scheme also has difficulties determining the socioeconomic status of applicants; fixing flat-rate rather than income-related premiums.”
He therefore said, for Ghana to I’ve towards Universal health coverage, the country needs to find more money to invest into the NHIS by increasing the fiscal space to fund the it.
Meanwhile, he said, “with support from the World Bank, we are ready to assist all the CHPS compound, for everyone everywhere to be able to access the facilities for basic health care free of charge.”