Need for well-co-ordinated aid assistance in health sector

Thu, 27 Mar 2008 Source: GNA

Accra, March 27, GNA - Dr. Edward Addai, Director, Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (PPME) of the Ministry of Health on Thursday said if aid is well-coordinated, there would be remarkable improvement in the health sector.

He said out of the 17 donors working with the health sector only three pulled fund and that the challenge was how to deal with those who did not, adding the sector needed to expand but funding was a major constraint.

Dr. Addai made the observation when officials from the DFID and some members of the United Kingdom Parliament called on the Ministry of Health to ascertain, how donor funding by the two governments were disbursed and it impact on the sector.

The PPME director contended that aid from the global level became fragmented when it got to the local level, adding that that government resource went into fixed cost and noted that donors support gave government the leverage to help bridge the financial gap.

Aid, he noted, constituted 21 percent of the health sector budget, with 32 percent from the National Budget and added that loans were sometimes acquired to support specific programmes. The Ministry, he said, needed to streamline some of its policies to enable it to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four, five and

six which were child health, maternal health and disease control respectively and noted that short term donor financing was difficult to plan with and this hampered smooth transition of health programmes. He explained that sometimes some donors choose projects they want to support at the detriment of an entire programme and gave an example of a

donor whose interest is in abortion and not the entire Reproductive Health (RH). Explaining further, he said, abortion was a subset of RH and supporting part of it would be doing more harm than good because the whole programme in its entirety is a cycle and when broken has to be mended all over again.

The Minister of Health Major Courage Quashigah, (Rtd) said investing in the sector took time to bear fruits and noted that a lot more could be done but funding remained its greatest challenge. The sector was intertwined with other sectors such as water and the environment and both needed to collaborate to help prevent diseases that had become a burden on the nation.

He mention the paradigm shift from curative to preventive health that placed emphasis on health promotion with the aim of improving the health status of Ghanaians through promoting healthy lifestyles with emphasis on nutrition.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce, a Liberal Democrat Member of the UK Parliament and head of the delegation said they would do what was best for the country and noted that Ghana needed to remove barriers that prevented those who really needed help from accessing it.

Source: GNA