The National Democratic Congress (NDC) says its vision for the health sector will make Ghana one of the best countries with a strong healthcare system.
Not only does the party consider the sector as a major indicator to achieving Ghana's development goals, it also perceives the healthcare system as the key to ensuring prosperity of the people.
In the last four years, the party has implemented some initiatives to make the health sector formidable. Notably among them were the establishment of the National Ambulance Service Training School, the upgrading and expansion of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital at Ridge in Accra, and the refurbishment of the Operating Theatre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
In the party’s 2016 manifesto titled "Changing Lives, Transforming Ghana", the NDC has detailed in the 80-page document the policies and programmes the leadership intends to implement should its flag bearer, President John Mahama, win the 2016 elections.
The role of polyclinics and CHPS
The NDC intends to construct 20 polyclinics in Ashanti, Eastern, Volta and Upper East regions.
“We will between 2017 and 2021 complete the construction of more polyclinics in the Greater Accra and Central regions; continue to equip polyclinics and district hospitals, especially in the newly created districts; and continue the construction of the 120-bed Bekwai Hospital in the Ashanti Region”, the manifesto states.
The party will also continue the construction of Community Health Planning Service (CHPS) Compounds; standardise the CHPS Compounds Operational Zones and Health Centres; and establish a National Infectious Disease Centre.
Considering the emerging changes in the sector, the NDC says it intends to strengthen the partnership with local pharmaceutical companies to make them more efficient, reliable and competitive both locally and internationally.
“We will support bilateral and other exchange programmes for our health personnel to expose them to best practices around the world; extend the ongoing free Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) distribution programme to attain the 2005 Abuja target of 60 per cent of children sleeping under insecticide treated nets countrywide by 2020”, the party assures.
With regard to combating malaria, the party says it will expand the bio-larvicide spraying programme to reduce the incidence of malaria.
Using traditional medicine
It is estimated that about 80 per cent of the world’s population rely on herbal medicine, creating a huge world market for the product.
Between 2008 and 2013, export of medicinal plants from Ghana increased five-fold from US$8million to approximately US$40million.
The manifesto says the party will continue to support the manufacturing of traditional remedies for diseases; create a permanent body to review the Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia on a regular basis; and strengthen regulatory mechanisms to ensure safe, efficacious and efficient administration of herbal medicine.
It will also continue to support the Centre for Research into Plant Medicine, Mampong-Akwapim, and the Centre for Traditional and Herbal Medicine, KNUST.
“We will establish the School of Traditional Medicine at Keta, in addition to the School of Pharmacy, as a satellite campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences”, the party promises.
Prioritising mental health
The party says it will prioritise mental health care and ensure strict implementation of the Mental Health Act 2012 (Act 846) by working with local and international partners to galvanise support for the attainment of the objectives that will drastically improve mental health care in Ghana.