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"Ghana's commitment to UHC requires sustainable health financing mechanisms" - Health Minister

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has disclosed that Ghana's unwavering commitment to Universal Health Coverage requires transparent, sustainable health financing mechanisms

that contribute to achieving improved health outcomes and financial risk protection.

He made these remarks at a high level meeting on financing immunisation in Ghana, 2029 and beyond held in Accra.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director, Ministry of Health, Alhaji Hafiz Adam, he said "Ghana is currently in transition towards a sustainable domestic financing for immunization"

"Health financing has become topical issue and has been running through all discussions, as l year's National Health Summit held in June."

"Ghana's unwavering commitment to Universal Health Coverage, requires an equitable, efficient, effective, transparent and sustainable health financing mechanisms, that contribute to achieving improved health outcomes, financial risk protection, consumer responsiveness and access to quality essential health care as well as population-based services for all by 2030"

He added that with this, there are no doubt that Ghana ought to be committed to improving resource mobilization to ensure sufficient and predictable revenue, allocate and using health sector resources prudently/efficiently.

"Reducing financial barriers to access health care

Strengthening governance and management systems. Ensuring transparency and accountability in mobilisation and useof resources"

"Enabling Ghancing for strong population-based public health

functions Mr. Chairman, over the years, financing for strong population-based public health programs, that can prepare for and respond to emerging trends has been a matter of concern, in many countries including Ghana hence, the need for responsive, flexible and accountable financing protocols and greater investments in emergency preparedness and

National health security systems"

He stressed that, there have been various reforms, including the introduction of NHIS, the government's flagship social protection tool to improve health access and coverage, but admittedly, there have been yawning gaps and huge challenges facing health systems reforms toward theattainment of UHC.

"It may interest you to know that, the 2022 Ghana Health Expenditure Review showed that, there has been mal distribution of public spending on health, with 80% funds being channeled through Ministry of Health budget and only 12% channeled through the NHIS, 90% of domestic revenues is dedicated for workforce compensation"

"This poor balance in the proportion of compensation vs non compensation costs undermine service delivery and creates pressure to increase out of pocket payments. Sadly, external assistance for health has also dwindled in recent years, representing only 11% of total health spending"

The Health Minister hinted thatGhana was rated as one of the best performing EP! program in Africa, with high coverage rates for all vaccines, including first doses of Measles -Rubella vaccine of close to 100%, third dose of penta vaccine of close to 100% as well as BCG and yellow fever vaccine both close to 100%, must be sustained.

"Thanks to GAVI, that supports approximately 80% of the cost of vaccin and their delivery, including health systems strengthening, Ghana has been implementing commendable high-quality preventive and react vaccination campaign in response to public health emergencies."

The Minister revealed that Ghana was due to transition out of GAVI support by 2030 in line with the Vaccine Alliance transition policy that aims to move countries from development assistance to domestic financing of immunisation programs.

"As per the model, Ghana entered accelerated transition in January 2022 and was expected to transition out of GAVI's support in 2027, and during this phase, government is expected to increase its share of vaccine costs to 100% and become fully self-financing"

"Under the revised policies approved in December 2022, Ghana will now stay in accelerated transition until 2029 and definitely must transition in January, 2030"

"Chair, Ladies and gentlemen, this is our reality and it certainly calls for high level discussions within and outside the health sector, towards establishing functional systems for coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to finalise interventions on, the country's ability to withstand this independence, consolidating the gains without compromising quality and pride"

"The reflections we need to have at this high level meeting and beyond ought to be premised on strong, political, legislative and more expects fiscal commitments to health outcomes, that can support viablesustainable options for effective implementation. The reality is that, we definitely cannot renege on our commitments, than to make it better than before. The health of the population remains paramount and our path to self-reliance in vaccine financing ought not to leave any one behind in accessing lifesaving vaccines"

He noted that, as Ghana was positioning itself as a future major local vaccinemanufacturer, having a transition roadmap was particularly important to ensure the financial sustainability of this strategy that should provide a boost for vaccine equity and access.

"The objective is to start manufacturing vaccines from 2025, and to manufacture 600 million doses of various vaccines a year, including vaccines for malaria, HPV, pneumonia, rotavirus and cholera"

On his part, Chief Director, Ministry of Health, Alhaji Hafiz Adam said "This meeting is coming at a time where we are making frantic effort to attain self-reliance as part of our Health System Strengthening"

In a speech read on his behalf by Director, PPME; Emma Ofori Agyemang stressed that due its peculiar nature, the meeting was under the auspices of the Ministers of Health and Finance and under the chairmanship of a personality with international appeal.

He commended some seasoned parliamentarians, Chiefs of Strategy, Policy and Innovation who are also key partners of Ghana from the Vaccine Alliance, Heads of Agencies, distinguished participants with various expertise as health professionals, academicians, financial forecasters, local vaccine manufactures, experts in resource mobilization and financing, experts in programmatic & resource mobilization, vaccine experts and other distinguished representative from the various MDAS for supporting the worthy course.

"This wealth of expertise will undoubtedly enrich our discussions and illuminate the path towards sustainable vaccine self-financing as we embark on this transition"

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith



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