A two-day training on domestic health financing and budget advocacy on Tuesday ended in Accra with a call on the public to be interested in the total governance of the country.
Mrs. Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, a Senior Programmes Officer at SEND Ghana, who made the call said the public must participate in the preparation of the national budget, which was their civic responsibility and right. “The budget is about the citizenry, so before the budget is read, citizens must show interest, by discussing with their leaders what they expect from them” she said.
The training, which was attended by CSOs in the health sector created an avenue for them to familiarize themselves on how to examine the national budget, interpret in and make meaningful contributions into it.
It was organized by two Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), HBC Promised Ghana and Peoples Health Movement (PHM), under the Ghana Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Project with funding from the Global Fund, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and WACI Health.
Mrs. Agyemang said the budget was the government’s intention of what it wanted to do for the people based of their needs, showing its means of revenue generation to address those needs.
She said taking the backseat and not getting involved in the process meant that the citizens were willing and ready to accept anything government presented.
“The budget helps us to know and question whether the government is able to raise the funding that it required to fund the needs of its people and has put funds raised into appropriate use, we will be able to ask questions concerning government activities and interventions only if we delve into the budget,” she said.
Mr. John Eliasu Mahama, Convener of the Peoples Health Movement (PHM), said to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the UHC policy alone was not enough, hence the need for CSOs to engage the government to interpret financial commitments allocated in the budget.
He observed that countries that were making progress towards the attainment of UHC are those that were committing their own resources to the goal rather than those that were waiting for external funding sources to fund healthcare and interventions.
The training was therefore aimed at training Civil Society Organizations working in the area of health to call for increase spending on health and get the government to commit more to ensuring quality, effective and efficient healthcare delivery for all.
Madame Elsie Cornelia Ayeh, Development Planner, National Association of Persons Living with AIDS (NAP+) said the two-day training was beneficial to her work, saying “I have gotten an indepth understanding about the budget, how it is developed and the fact that the public is at liberty to make inputs into the development of the budget”.
She said training exposed them to the importance of building working relations and creating platforms for engagement.