ACCRA — The government has started the procurement process for acquisition of a fleet of 275 ambulances to revamp the national ambulance service. Vice President Dr. Bawumia said each constituency was going to be provided with an ambulance to enhance emergency response and improve health care services to the people.
The Vice President was addressing the annual general conference of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) in Koforidua. “The role of GMA in healthcare 60 years on” was the theme chosen for the event.
Vice President Dr. Bawumia underlined the government’s unwavering determination to ensure that the people had access to quality healthcare. It was in line with this it paid the GH¢1.2 billion unpaid National Health Insurance claims it inherited and initiated moves to prevent debt accumulation under the scheme.
Vice President Dr. Bawumia said they were going to engage the Accountant General to put in place measures to ensure that National Insurance levies collected were lodged into the National Health Insurance Accounts with the Bank of Ghana.
This way, there would always be funds for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to run its activities.
Vice President Dr. Bawumia added that the Management of the NHIA had been asked to move quickly to remove the stress that people had to go through during to renew their health insurance cards.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed with a company, operating in Rwanda for the use of drones to deliver blood and some highly needed medicines to remote areas by the first quarter of next year.
He said four centers would be established across the country to ensure that medicines and blood requirements in the remotest areas could be deployed within 20 minutes.
Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Minister of Health, said they were eager to ensure efficiency and sustainability of the health insurance scheme. He said the success of the health intervention had made Ghana an example that the World Health Organization (WHO) had been recommending to other countries to understudy.
To help tackle corruption in the system, the Management of the NHIA had been given the powers to prosecute offenders.
He announced that the government would soon introduce free post-graduate training for all medical officers to help produce the number of medical specialists required to promote medical tourism.
The Minister gave the assurance that everything would be done to make sure that there was industrial peace in the health sector. He told the conference that the report of the Committee established to look into the case, where a 70-year old man died through the “no bed syndrome” was ready and would soon be presented to Parliament.
The findings would be published and the implementation of the recommendations could bring reforms in the health service. Dr. Frank Ankobea, the National President of the GMA, called for improvement in health financing to help end the no bed syndrome.
He said it was important to find ways of attracting additional funding for the health insurance scheme and the payment of appropriate premiums to sustain the scheme.
There should also be incentive packages to attract medical officers to the remote areas. Dr. Ankobea said the agreement on the conditions of service of the members of the GMA had expired and that they would open discussion with the government for renegotiation of new conditions of service for the doctors.
Mr. Eric Kwakye Darfour, the Eastern Regional Minister, asked that the conference found time to discuss how to enhance doctor-patient relationship and innovative ways of improving healthcare delivery.