Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has said the free health policies promised in the 2020 manifestos of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) lack clarity on how their implementation will be financed.
General Secretary of GMA, Dr Justice Yankson, said while the health policies are commendable, previous ones have not been implemented.
According to Dr Yankson, Ghana has failed for many years to dedicated 15 per cent of its GDP to the health sector as is required by members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The best the country has done over the years was dedicate 9 per cent of the GDP to the health sector. It always hovers around 5, 6, or 7 per cent,” he noted on a current affairs programme on Joy FM.
Among the many promises made by the NDC in the health sector is a promise to make primary health care free.
The NDC also wants to encourage preventive care, health promotion and wellness; reduce maternal mortality by half; introduce antenatal incentives; amend the law to provide four months maternity leave, in addition to existing legal maternity provisions and grant seven days paternity leave; provide free sanitary pads to girls in school; train more personnel in domiciliary and palliative care for the elderly and the sick; establish special exercise parks and recreational centres for the elderly, among others.
The NPP’s 2020 manifesto promises on health are listed below:
– Deliver on the largest healthcare infrastructure investment by any government in the last fifty years;
– Focus on health promotion and prevention as part of primary health care through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC);
– Work with the Ghana Medical and Dental Council to streamline the admission processes for foreign-trained doctors;
– Expand access to medical schools in Ghana by building additional facilities and augment its human resource base;
– Eliminate import duties on sanitary pads to improve health outcomes, particularly for girls;
– Focus on telemedicine to enhance health delivery.