Health News Tue, 5 Jan 2016

Crisis looms in health sector over budget cuts – MP

Health experts are warning of a looming crisis in tge healthcare delivery system in the country due to budget cuts.

As a result of the cuts, funds meant for sustaining the National Health Insurance Scheme and the purchase of drugs and vaccines for the treatment of tuberculosis are no longer available.

The MP for Berekum and a Member of Parliament’s Health Committee, Dr. Kwabena Twum-Nuamah warned of a major health crisis if government does not provide the needed funds.

"Looking at the budget for 2016, the budget to GDP for the health sector was reduced from 3.4% to 3.2% but the devil is in the detail.

"For goods and services, it was reduced from a little over 800 million cedis to just 3.6 million cedis in the 2016 budget."

He said with this huge cut, medical facilities will not have enough money to pay for their utilities.

"They will not have enough to buy some of the medicines to distribute to various agencies under them.

He said the TB drugs will be the biggest hit.

Kwabena Twum Nuamah said government must look for extra funds to support the sector, otherwise there will be a crisis in the health sector this year.

The Ghana Medical Association is already feeling the pinch and has urged government to prioritise the sustenance of the National Insurance Scheme to ensure better healthcare delivery.

Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson told Joy News healthcare delivery in the country will be compromised if the health insurance system is not improved.

"There are two key things in the health sector that we need to look at - budgetary support and then what we generate by way of work.

"If you go to most health facilities now, health insurance takes the chunk of whatever we are doing. We expect health insurance to actually pay their bills on time. That way it will relieve the hospitals of a lot of the pressures they are facing by way of lack of finances.

"It is not good for cuts to happen but we expect that no matter what government should understand the sensitive nature of the health sector.

"The health of the nation is the wealth of the nation. So there are some critical activities like immunization that under no circumstances should we toy with," he said.

He said if the health sector will function properly in the year 2016, government must play its role as expected.

Source: Myjoyonline.com