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Politics Fri, 15 Jun 2012

Minister calls for propagation of Health Institutions and Facilities Act

Mr. Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health on Friday called for concerted efforts in the dissemination of information on the Health Institutions and Facilities Act, promulgated in 2011.

The Act establishes regulatory bodies to license health facilities to provide public and private health care services, promote the establishment and regulation of mortuary facilities and ambulance services.

It seeks to repeal the Private Hospitals and Maternity Home Board Act 9 of 1958, Mortuaries and Funeral Facilities Act 563 of 1998 and the St John’s Ambulance Services Act of 1979.

Mr. Mettle-Nunoo made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting to map out the dissemination process for the Act and development of the Legislative Instrument in Accra.

He said the Act did not have the mandate to regulate new health services such as occupational therapy services, laboratory and physiotherapy services and optometry facilities.

"The Act did not cover convalescent and nursing homes and geriatric care in the private sector.

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“There are several overlaps with the functions of some of the…regulatory bodies, which created high transaction costs and unnecessary bottlenecks for the private sector healthcare provider."

Mr. Mettle-Nunoo expressed appreciation to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for supporting the sectors' work with Parliament on the legislative process to improve health investment climate in Ghana.

“The IFC has recruited two consultants to support the writing of the draft Legislative Instrument and an institutional manual and roadmap for establishing the Health Institutions and Facilities Agency. They are also paying for the Act dissemination process.”

He said Ghana was one of the few countries to be provided with the targeted support within the health sector under the IFC’s Health in Africa Initiative, and assisting the health sector to map out service availability, cost assessment and areas for quality improvement in the private and public health sectors.

The Deputy Health Minister said IFC was leveraging public- private partnerships to invest in infrastructure development and management in the health sector and had already agreed to sign an Advisory Services Agreement with respect to Public Private Partnership management services for aspects of services provided at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

He expressed disappointment about instances whereby Acts passed by Parliament received little or no publicity thereby making their implementation difficult.

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“Thus, while Members of Parliament toiled to complete the Acts, their implementation became difficult or totally shelved. Sometimes nobody even knows that the Acts have been passed either because there is no conscious communication strategy in place or resources are limited in supporting the process”.

Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, Chairman of Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, commended the Ministry of Health (MOH) for involving the House in strategies for the dissemination of the Act to ensure its success.

He appealed to IFC to assist in the dissemination of other Acts passed by Parliament to enable Ghanaians become conversant with them.

Mr. Suleimana Bening, Focal Person on Health Sector Bills, MOH, said the Act would ensure establishment of three autonomous and decentralised agencies for the health sector.

“It would ensure proper supervision and ministerial oversight of health institutions, enhance ministerial oversight, stewardship and ensure environmental protection."**

Source: GNA