Government has cleared the greater part of GH¢1.2billion owed the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) – leaving an outstanding GH¢181million that will be cleared before end of the year, Deputy-Health Minister Kingsley Aboakye Gyedu has disclosed.
The debt inherited by the NPP government affected drugs supply and other logistics needed to efficiently run the scheme across the country.
But speaking to the media on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD) in Accra, the Deputy-Minister noted that government is committed to fully clearing the longstanding arrears in the health sector.
“When we took over last year, the accumulated debt that we inherited was GH¢1.2billion; but over the year we have paid up to almost a billion.
“Currently we have about GH¢181million debt outstanding, which we hope to clear within this year,” he said.
Last year, suppliers including pharmaceutical companies expressed concern about the effect of government’s inability to pay debts on their businesses.
Managing Director of Dannex Limited, Yaw Opare-Asamoah, told the B&FT in February 2017 that the situation stands as the greatest challenge facing drug supply and needed to be addressed within the earliest possible time, or ‘cash and carry’ would come back.
“If there is no solution to this, it has the tendency of crippling the industry or supply in the country, because the National Health Insurance has to pay the facilities – the hospitals and the pharmacies.”
In order to improve and sustain an efficient healthcare delivery system in the country, Mr. Gyedu said government has submitted proposals to cabinet for instituting reforms aimed at transforming the health sector.
Included in the proposals, he noted, are strategic measures geared toward strengthening the management of public health facilities to curb corruption and reduce waste.
“Coupled with management reforms that we are doing at the public health facilities, we expect that there will be more competency and efficiency; and that will also help us to achieve the objective of reducing waste and inefficiencies in public financial management, especially in the health sector,” the minister said.
The dialogue, which engaged key stakeholders in the health sector, discussed key findings of a study that was conducted by CDD-Ghana and the Health Finance and Governance (HFG), titled ‘Resource Allocation and Utilisation in the Health and Education Sectors in Ghana’.
The report presents the constraints and opportunities for mobilising domestic resources for health and education within the macro-political and economic context in the country.
Mr. Gyedu commended the organisers for their interest in Ghana’s health sector and how to make it better, reiterating government’s support to same and attainment of the SDG3 – which talks about ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all.