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Dickson Adomako Kissi writes: My take on the budget and the health sector

The budget has made a strong argument for the need to expand access to quality healthcare and improved facilities

The budget builds upon the progress made during the first term and sets the tone for the election year and beyond, building economic growth and inclusive opportunity for all.

Healthcare is important both in good and bad times. Russia, Ukraine, Israel, and the Hamas Wars have even made it clearer that healthcare delivery remains important in times of war when the economy is adversely affected.

This is a key budget post-Covid and IMF negotiation along with world instability. As we turn our televisions to Aljazeera, Bloomberg, CNBC, GTV, Citi News, BBC, Joy News, and GhOne, we notice that health is a major concern for thousands of people and many millions that participate in global healthcare discussions. 

I hope to add clarity and credibility to the budget statement, and I will focus on the health sector. All of what has been said has been with the global financial crisis and the shock of the pandemic in mind.

The budget has made a strong argument for the need to expand access to quality healthcare and improved facilities.

Former President Obama is known for OBAMACARE and I am sure President Akufo-Addo will also be known for the many addresses he gave us during the COVID pandemic period. Based on those many public engagements by the President, I am convinced that the President is very aware of the importance of health to our national security, employment, wealth, etc.

The president has always asked that citizens participate in governance, and I want to assure the people of Ghana that when parliament engages in any debate on the floor, it is because we wish to express their most important needs to the executive arm of government and to amplify the voice of the people.

This administration, including Parliament, has demonstrated commitment to improving access to health and quality care through investments in new and updated facilities across the entire nation. An allocation of 15 billion Ghana cedis to the health sector alone cannot be overlooked. There are many expansion projects that incorporate features to expand patient access and ultimately help ease physical and emotional stress for patients and clinicians alike.

One key question on the minds of the health committee is how we move from about 6 percent of budget allocation to 15 percent, which has been our GOAL for a long TIME after the Abuja Declaration on Health Care.

This administration, under the pressure of COVID and the global economic crisis, has transformed the landscape for health infrastructure and many efforts to expand access are being made.  Korle bu Teaching Hospital project loans, 37 Military Hospital expansion, Construction of five general hospitals (Osiem, Assin, Kuhyea, Dormaa Akwamu, Wawfie, Kutre) are all major examples. 

We have weathered the challenges so far as a nation under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia.

The importance of vaccination and the setup for the manufacturer of vaccines in Ghana cannot be overlooked.  I must say we have reached such an important milestone in the march towards very good healthcare. 

I am overly excited about the malaria vaccine approval for use, which will lessen our disease burden both on hospitals, the NHIS, and ultimately on families and patients.

NHIS turned 20 years old, and we can all celebrate it with them because of the numerous lives that have been greatly impacted by the introduction of a powerful health insurance program.

Together with the parliament, the President and the Minister of Health have made our health care more innovative, more accountable, and more accessible.

The new deal is to push heavily for controlled costs of care, get more people insured, and focus on the condition of service for our healthcare doctors, nurses, ancillary services, pharmacists, and assistants. This will certainly reduce the departure of many skilled health staff to Europe, Canada, and North America.

At the heart of our health budget is the average Ghanaian patient, families, providers, and the need to provide quality, affordable care at a hospital near you. We must make sure that preventative care is improved, more public education and awareness are raised for the ordinary citizen, and adequate funding is provided for all essential health programs like vaccination, TB, HIV, Covid, etc.

I am confident to say that our 7-year dedication to health pre- and post-covid has been phenomenal and will inure to benefit our country’s health security and economic stability. A healthy nation always is a wealthy nation.

To achieve a lot more we need to devote more resources to healthcare for all age groups, the infants, the youth, the adults and the elderly. 

I cannot think of a more impactful contribution to our country after Covid, than the increased capacity and expanded access to services that the government provides through health insurance and hospitals at large.

Our healthcare needs to be more sustainable to provide the general care, surgical, labor and delivery, emergency care, laboratory investigation, imaging, non-communicable disease care (hypertension, diabetes) and stroke care. 

We can only hope that as we enter an election year, health budget allocation, will be more than we witnessed this year and the previous years. I am more hopeful, that our health security will remain a priority for all Ghanaians both now and forever MORE.

Everyone deserves access to adequate health resources. We can work together with one heart, mind and soul to help our people to live healthier lives. I wish the entire Ghana good life and good health and prosperity.

The 2024 budget will support Ghana and for sure make us the premier destination for health care in the sub region. Long live Ghana, Long live the people and health workers, Long live the President!!

The budget is about the health of the ordinary citizen and your family. Prevention is key to a long, healthy life. Thanks for allowing me to participate in the debate on the principles within the budget.

By Dr Dickson Adomako Kissi
MP for Anyaa Sowutuom
Member of health committee of parliament

 

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