Dr Sebastian Sandaare, a member of the Health Committee of Parliament, has called on government to pay special attention to healthcare sector to avoid future health crisis in the country.
According to him, the government continues promises to ensure quality healthcare for all, but provide a paltry budgetary allocation in 2024 budget does not reflect its agendas of achieving universal health coverage, and decreasing the out-of-pocket expenditure.
He said, currently, people are struggling to meet their living expenses due to a soaring inflation and that the approved GH¢15.6 billion health Ministry budget for 2024 is inadequate as the donor agencies have started winning off their support to the sector.
Parliament has approved the sum of GH¢ 15.577 billion for the operations of the Ministry of Health for 2024. This followed an assessment and recommendation by the Committee on Health on the Ministry’s 2024 Annual Budget Estimates, the 2023 Budget Performance, and the Ministry’s Outlook for 2024.
The Committee’s report emphasized the need for the Ministry of Finance to release funds regularly and fulfil all commitments to ensure the effective performance of the Ministry of Health.
The report highlighted key areas of focus for the Ministry, including the completion of ongoing projects and the allocation of resources to critical healthcare initiatives.
Some of the projects that the Ministry is expected to embark upon next year include the construction of a 100-bed Urology and Nephrology Centre of Excellence at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the completion and handover of hospitals in Sewua and Salaga, and the reactivation of projects in Kumawu, Fomena, and Tarkoradi under the European Flat Projects.
The Committee stressed the importance of refurbishing healthcare facilities, such as the Asawinso Health Centre in the Western North Region, and completing the construction, remodelling, and refurbishment of Treatment and Holding Centres in Goaso (Ahafo Region), Nalerigu (North East Region), Tarkoradi (Western Region), and Sunyani (Bono Region).
But Dr Sandaare, MP for Daffiama/Bussie/Issa told EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, the budgetary allocation is woefully inadequate to address the teething problems confronting the health sector in the coming year.
He feared Ghana may not achieve the Universal Primary Healthcare target with the paltry budgetary allocation to healthcare services.
The need to strengthen public health services has become very clear from the experiences of the last few years, especially during the first and second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and the shortage of vaccines for children.
“Primary health care is neglected. The government is not paying priority to the sector and we may not achieve the 15 per cent target by 2030 as required under the Universal Primary Health care,” he said.
Currently, the primary health care-centres focus mainly on maternal and child health care, not the prevention of non-communicable diseases, a situation Dr Sandaare expressed worried and said, “The budget does not contain specific directions for achieving universal health coverage by 2030”.
He spoke to EXPRESS NEWS TV
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