We are bent on providing Free Primary Health Care –Omane Boamah
The former Minister for Communications and Presidential Spokesperson for the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration, Dr Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, says Ghanaians should not have doubts about the Free Primary Health Care promised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) because it is attainable.
According to Mr Boamah, the Free Primary Health Care will be the single largest social intervention under the Fourth Republic, which will deliver preventive health, health promotion interventions, and curative care.
He said Free Primary Health Care is very important and critical, because health is fundamental to national development.
“Free Primary healthcare is attainable. With Free Primary Health Care, we shall significantly reduce avoidable deaths due to hypertension, strokes, diabetes, kidney disease and many others.
“This significant reduction in the death burden will help improve the quality of lives for those suffering such diseases.”
Mr Boamah was speaking at the NDC’s Weekly Press Briefing held at the party’s headquarters in Accra.
The former Communication Minister said that the provision of free health care was necessitated by experts who had suggested many reasons for the poor health-seeking behaviour, which, among other things, includes high out-of-pocket cost.
Also, there is a challenge with the National Health Insurance coverage. Less than 40% of Ghanaians are on health insurance stemming out of poor customer service at primary health at the card issuance centres and health care facilities, he said and added that “this calls for a deliberate policy action to change disease burden patterns, by providing a universal health programme to make Ghanaians access healthcare, including appropriate treatment of common diseases and injuries, and provision of essential drugs at no cost to them.”
The former Communications Minister emphasised that with the Free Primary Health Care Plan, no Ghanaian will pay for health care in district hospitals and polyclinics, and will not need a National Health Insurance (NHIS) card to benefit from Free Primary Health Care.
Dr Omane Boamah explained that under the Free Primary Health Care Plan, Ghanaians will no longer need money or health insurance to see a doctor.
“With Free Primary Health Care, free means free: walk into the health facility and you will receive care,” he charged.
He said the proposed policy will also increase quality-adjusted healthy years and life expectancy, as well as ensure adequate skills mix to guarantee accelerated economic growth.
“This plan will also help address the acute shortage of health professionals in many deprived and rural areas, because they will be seen by doctors who may even be in Accra, Ho, Kumasi, Takoradi, Cape Coast, via the power of ICT.”
He added that as part of a comprehensive implementation of the policy, if, indeed, the NDC is voted into power, there will tax waivers to assist health workers to acquire means of transport (vehicles) to respond to emergency calls.
The NDC will also establish a housing scheme for health workers and provide residential facilities at all health facilities for their workers.
There will be an amendment of the National Pensions Act, to allow health professionals who have contributed to Social Security National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for 10 years and above, to collateralise their contributions for mortgage loans, and establish a Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule Endowment Fund for medical and surgical specialist training, he indicated.
Mr Boamah said more jobs for community nurses and other health professionals would be created through the implementation of free primary health care.