Media must promote primary health systems – Consultant

Accra� Nana-Aisha Mohammed, a Health Financing Consultant, has asked the media, through their reportage, to promote evidence based primary health system that is responsive to the needs of the citizens.

She said research on the coverage of primary health was virtually non-existent adding; The media can help shape the environment for evidence informed health policy making.

The media is a powerful tool that is located at the nexus of the public and policy agendas. It can be used in advocating for citizens’ health.

Ms Mohammed, a Consultant with Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), said this at two-day training on Primary Health Care (PHC) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) held for some journalists in Accra.

The programme seeks to empower the journalists to improve on their reportage on PHC and UHC.

Participants were taken through topics such as Primary Health Financing in Ghana: The Role of the Media, PHC as the Pathway to UHC; Ghana’s Strategy, The Danfa Comprehensive Rural Health and Family Planning Project, and Opportunities for Media Reporting.

Analysing the health sector expenditure, Ms Mohammed said in the 2018 Budget, the Government had indicated a strong commitment to completing some health infrastructure projects inherited from the 2016 Budget.

Ms Mohammed said it was disheartening that the budget did not mention any move to complete or construct a single Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound even though they were the first points of call for many Ghanaians.

She said there were over 200 uncompleted CHPS compounds in the country and appealed to the Government to provide funding and logistics for them.

On staffing gaps in the health sector, Ms Mohammed said there was no clear direction or statement on how government would address the inequitable distribution of existing health workers across the country.

She said journalists could take up issues on the country’s health expenditure and staffing gaps and demand answers on how government would tackle them.

Touching on the National Health Insurance Scheme, Ms Mohammed noted that the Scheme’s governance structure was a challenge and government had failed to indicate how to solve that problem.

Ms Vicky T. Okine, the Executive Director of ARHR, challenged the participants to conduct in-depth analysis on PHC and UHC issues and hold government accountable.

Source: Ghana News Agency