Sources of funds for healthcare financing should be sustainable, equitable – Adu Sakodie

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A Senior lecturer at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie has said that sources of funds for healthcare financing should be sustainable.

He asked the government to turn to the extractive sector as a way of generating money to finance healthcare delivery in Ghana.

“My advice to our government and all stakeholders is that the contracts in the extractive is not the best.

“The contracts have been signed in such a way that the benefits go to the foreign companies that have been given the contract,” he said.

He added that “the Source of funds for healthcare should be sustainable, improve quality, and provide equitable healthcare, those sources should be predictable, we should be able to budget for it and offer transparency and accountability.

“Where can we get the money to solve this issue? Extractive sector, because God has blessed this country with natural resources. The value of the natural resources we have- 10 trillion dollars, half the GDP of the US and so if you are this rich and you need money to finance healthcare, where do you go?” he said during the Sustainable Health Financing Dialogue on achieving improved maternal health outcome organized by Media General in Partnership with STAR-Ghana on Thursday, February 1.

Cooperation, adequate financial resources needed to tackle maternal mortality – Nana Oye

Also speaking at the same event, Former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Bampoe Addo said, although maternal mortality is reducing in Ghana, more cooperation and resources are needed to reduce the incidence further.

Maternal mortality, she said, has reduced from 1,300 to about 400 or less per thousand Live births.

“We need this cooperation, the resources and partnership to ensure that when a woman is performing this natural role that God has given to her for bringing life and sustaining our populations, she is supported and does not die from this task,” she said.

Background

Over the decades, Ghana has taken significant steps towards improved maternal health outcomes. The 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS) showed Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) reduced to 740 to 319/100,000 live births between 1990 and 2015.

The Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) policy provides entry points for Primary Health Care (PHC), in particularly the provision of Antenatal care (ANC) and Postnatal Care (PNC) for expectant mothers in hard-to-reach and deprived communities.

The Free Maternal care Policy component of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), is intended to contribute to remove financial barriers to maternal healthcare. The aforesaid are significant steps towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and, by inference, Sustainable Development Goal 3, target 3.1, which envisions achieving maternal mortality ratio of less than 70 per 100,000 live deaths.

Nonetheless, challenges remain: some CHPS facilities are in dilapidated state and, under-resourced—logistics and human resource.  This is accentuated by the tortuous distance that some expectant mothers trek in their quest to access health care. Perennial delays regarding processing and reimbursement of claims by primary healthcare providers including CHPS, undercuts equitable access and financial coverage for vulnerable/indigent populations, including women.

To respond to the aforesaid challenge, there is a compelling need for increased financial investment in the health sector. The Abuja Declaration, incepted in 2001 under the auspices of the African Union (AU), tasked African states to allocate at least 15 percent of their budget to the health sectors; the World Health Organization (WHO) also requires member-states to invest 4-5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to improve the health sector.

However, a trend analysis paints a grim picture of health sector spending—from 10 per cent of the total budget in 2010, to 7 per cent in 2017.  As of 2019, health sector spending represented 3.5% of GDP—below the WHO’s requirement. Development partner/donor funding for the health sector has also decreased at an annual rate of at least 10 percent between 2015 to 2020.  The above shortfall, if not mitigated, poses an existential threat to UHC in general and maternal health care in particular.

It is against this background that Media General’s 3 Foundation, with funding from Star Ghana, is hosting a National Level Dialogue on maternal healthcare on February 1, 2024.

“We are working in order to reduce the number of women who die,” she added.

In the area of teenage pregnancy, she said the rate has dropped but the country is not out of the woods yet.

“Now, a young woman can walk in to request for termination if within the remit of the law she can,” the private legal practitioner said.

Regarding healthcare financing, she said, “Healthcare financing is a major challenge we have in Ghana.”

Background

Over the decades, Ghana has taken significant steps towards improved maternal health outcomes. The 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS) showed Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) reduced to 740 to 319/100,000 live births between 1990 and 2015.

The Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) policy provides entry points for Primary Health Care (PHC), in particularly the provision of Antenatal care (ANC) and Postnatal Care (PNC) for expectant mothers in hard-to-reach and deprived communities.

The Free Maternal care Policy component of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), is intended to contribute to remove financial barriers to maternal healthcare. The aforesaid are significant steps towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and, by inference, Sustainable Development Goal 3, target 3.1, which envisions achieving maternal mortality ratio of less than 70 per 100,000 live deaths.

Nonetheless, challenges remain: some CHPS facilities are in dilapidated state and, under-resourced—logistics and human resource.  This is accentuated by the tortuous distance that some expectant mothers trek in their quest to access health care. Perennial delays regarding processing and reimbursement of claims by primary healthcare providers including CHPS, undercuts equitable access and financial coverage for vulnerable/indigent populations, including women.

To respond to the aforesaid challenge, there is a compelling need for increased financial investment in the health sector. The Abuja Declaration, incepted in 2001 under the auspices of the African Union (AU), tasked African states to allocate at least 15 percent of their budget to the health sectors; the World Health Organization (WHO) also requires member-states to invest 4-5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to improve the health sector.

However, a trend analysis paints a grim picture of health sector spending—from 10 per cent of the total budget in 2010, to 7 per cent in 2017.  As of 2019, health sector spending represented 3.5% of GDP—below the WHO’s requirement. Development partner/donor funding for the health sector has also decreased at an annual rate of at least 10 percent between 2015 to 2020.  The above shortfall, if not mitigated, poses an existential threat to UHC in general and maternal health care in particular.

It is against this background that Media General’s 3 Foundation, with funding from Star Ghana, is hosting a National Level Dialogue on maternal healthcare on February 1, 2024.