Universal health coverage is constitutional imperative – Kuganab-Lem

Accra- Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem, Deputy Ranking Member of the Health Committee of Parliament, on Thursday insisted that universal health coverage in Ghana can be fully realised if there is collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health and its external partners.

He said the Tokyo Joint Universal Health coverage, which is supported by the Government of Japan and led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with its agencies, are keen on engaging Ghana to build national capacity and to strengthen the health system of Ghana.

In a statement on the floor of Parliament on universal health access, Dr Kugana-Lem, who is also the MP for Binduri Constituency, in the Upper East Region, said the support from Japan will contribute in enhancing Ghana’s nationally �led strategic health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

There would also be financial support to Primary Health Care, community health planning and services and improve pandemic preparedness.

He referred to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which authoritatively establishes the right to good health, and underlined that, it is important for Ghana to prioritise universal coverage and major goals for reformation in the health sector.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is defined by the World Health Organisation as ”ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, while ensuring people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for services.

Its achievement in any country is expected to promote quality health care delivery, which is good enough to promote and improve the health of those receiving the services, without imposing any financial hardship on the patient.

The Legislator identified the need for trained health personnel and motivated health workforce, a well-maintained infrastructure and reliable supply of medicines in achieving universal health access.

He said Ghana in 2015 had nationwide health coverage of 44 per cent, but pointed out that, we can attain full nationwide health coverage if we make its delivery more affordable and accessible by all.

Dr Kuganab-Lem called for a law on how the nation’s health institutions are financed and stressed the need to de-politicise the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

We must forget about asking workers to pay more when they do not know what they are paying for.

The WHO, Mr Speaker, has requested all nations to devote 5 per cent of their GDP to health care. This can ensure free and accessible primary health care within a year, Dr Kuganab-Lem said, adding that, the WHO is empathic that there cannot be universal health coverage without primary health care.

The Binduri MP used the opportunity to express appreciation to God, the Speaker, Prof Aaron Oquaye, the Leadership of the House, the clerk to the Committee, Roads and Transport Minister, Mr Kwasi Amoako Atta; Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Rev Palmer Buckle, and the staff at the Ghana Embassy in Japan, who in diverse ways assisted when he was taken ill while attending a meeting on universal health access in Japan.

Source: Ghana News Agency