Disaster Looms At Health Sector

… As Health Minister’s lies land him into trouble

Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu may not be aware that some of the numerous promises made by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to stakeholders in the country’s health sector, which has currently turned into lies owing to the government’s failure to fulfill them will someday come back to haunt him.

Unfortunately, as the minister makes moves to calm the unrest that has bedeviled the health sector in recent time, with countless unsubstantiated assurances from government, those statements have all been found to be tainted with lies that cannot be relied upon, hence forcing some key stakeholders in the health industry to lose faith in the government and withdraw their services.

The Minister of Health, during the opening of the 2016 National Health Sector Performance Review and Summit in Kumasi on Wednesday, April 19,  gave an assurance that arrears owed by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to service providers for May 2016 would be settled by the close of April, this year.

He further indicated that the government would inject “some good amount of money” into the scheme any moment from now to enable the authority to settle about three months’ arrears owed service providers by the end of June, this year, after which there would be monthly releases from the Ministry of Finance to settle arrears owed service providers of the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS).

But the excitement of service providers from the sector minister’s assurance was short-lived as it turns out that government only released part of the GHc1.2billion arrears that the scheme currently owed provider.

According to reports, the said amount released by the government is expected to cover only the month of May 2016.

Disappointed by the untruthful nature at the way government is treating them, some stakeholders, including the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) and the Chamber of Pharmacy, Ghana (CPG), have expressed shock and disappointment at the government action, with the latter even threatening to halt medical supplies to health service providers under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) if government does not release more of the funds to them.

Instead of feeling remorseful over the government’s consistent lies which have eventually led to some service providers withdrawing,  the  Member of Parliament for Dorma Central is heard lying again that he never gave any assurance to service providers in Kumasi last month, and that his statement of that occasion was misreported by the media.

“As I was saying, I am the Health Minister and have not made such a promise anywhere. I have also not heard the President and the Vice President giving such an assurance anywhere. Personally I don’t know where this assurance is coming from. So my immediate answer is that I have not made any promise,” he said.

Anthony Ameka, the chief executive officer of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Ghana, however told this paper that his group is fed up with the numerous promises from the government and insisted that the 12 months’ arrears be paid in full to service providers.

He confirmed Vice President Dr. Mahumudu Bawumia and Health Minister’s recent promises to stakeholders in the health sector concerning the payments of all outstanding arrears owed by government by the close of last month.

“We have had enough promises and so we are waiting to see that all the 12 months’ arrears owed service providers are paid by the government before we, as a group, would then believe whatever the government will say. Vice President said the arrears will be paid, the following week the Minister of Health also promised that a substantial amount would be paid by the close of April, and now the amount paid by the government is for only one month,” he said.

Mr. Ameka also revealed that, had the minister being truthful with them, his group would have been in a good position to enter negotiations with their suppliers and manufacturers, based on their current situation.

He said most reputable international pharmaceutical companies do not want to transact business with any Ghanaian company because these companies delay in paying suppliers and manufacturers.

“They don’t understand how owe without paying for such a long time. If you attend international summit and other conference out of the country, if you asked the companies why they don’t like coming to Ghana to do business, they will tell you that your health insurance will collapse my company. So the image and signal that we portray to the international is not the best,” he stressed.



Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Nana Appiah Acquaye

The Republic News Online

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