… Dir. General of Ghana Health Service recommends
The Director General of Ghana Health Services (GHS), Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare has stressed the need for preventive health care to be added to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Currently, the NHIS does not have preventive health services as part of its health care coverage.
At the close-out conference of “Prevention Is Better than Cure” project, Nsiah-Asare opined; saying, “I believe that NHIS should add health prevention as part of the services they will take care of.
“In Ghana we have been doing very well in prevention, especially in infants and neonates up to the age of two years. After that, all we think of is do things to get sick.”
The burden of preventable diseases in Ghana continues to remain a major national public health problem.
According to the 2016 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Disease Burden for Ghana, cerebrovascular diseases formed 20.2 percent of the top 10 diseases that cause the most deaths.
The introduction of preventive health care into Ghana’s health system would lead to significant reduction in the government’s health budget.
For 2018, the government is estimated to spend about GHS 4.4 billion on health care.
During the conference, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu noted that it is prudent to shift the focus of health service delivery to disease prevention which is touted as the most cost-effective means of health service delivery.
Preventive policies and programs often are cost-effective, reduce health care costs, and improve productivity.
Research from the Milken Institute suggests that a modest reduction in avoidable risk factors could lead to a gain of more than US $1 trillion annually in labor supply and efficiency by 2023.
The government in its policy document indicates preventive health care as one of its key priorities under which there would be wellness clinics from the lowest, Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) centers, up to the teaching hospitals.
Preventive healthcare consists of measures taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment.
Prevention can reduce the significant economic burden of disease in addition to improving the length and quality of people’s lives.
By Joshua W. Amlanu