54,000 Health workers employed

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– GH?2.2bn Health Insurance claims paid – Minister

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has disclosed that President Akufo-Addo’s administration, since 2017, has recruited over 54,000 healthcare workers to help deliver quality healthcare in the various health facilities.

He said majority of those recruited were outstanding workers from 2012 to 2016, including the private trainees. 
During a Meet-the-Press engagement yesterday, Agyeman-Manu said his ministry has also launched an electronic platform to facilitate recruitment and placement of staff at health facilities. 
He explained that the platform will eliminate the traditional system, which delays the recruitment and placement process. 
Commenting on the restored allowances for nurses in the various health training institutions, the Minister said a total of 57,000 trainees are benefiting from the restoration exercise, at a cost of GH?20.4 million per month. 
“One hundred per cent of total commitment, amounting to GH?210.8m for the 2017/2018 academic year, has been paid whereas government has also paid the first seven months of the 2018/2019 academic year. GH?57.8m warrant has been released for the payment of the rest of the month,” he said. 
The Health Minister was hopeful that the recruited healthcare workers will help boost the quality of healthcare delivery in the country. 
As part of improving healthcare delivery, government has also launched an electronic platform to facilitate recruitment and placement of staff at health facilities.

Government pays GH?2.2bn as Health Insurance claims  
Kwaku Agyeman-Manu disclosed that government has paid over GH?2.2 billion in claims to healthcare providers from 2017-2019.
The Minister said in 2017, a total of 908,071,309.61 of claims were paid whereas in 2018 and 2019 claims paid amounted to GH?1,028,067,125.49 and GH?266,896,869.83 respectively. 

The Minister said as a result of the efficiency gains, the authority is in a position to increase service tariffs by 20% this year. 

“By close of June 2019, sub-district facilities and below would all have been paid fully to enhance our achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” he said. 

The Health Minister said the National Health Insurance Authority has rolled out electronic receipting in 43 district offices, and preparations are being made to roll out the electronic receipting nationally.  

Agyeman-Manu disclosed that revenue has increased by 33 per cent in the first six regions after the introduction of e-receipting. The regions, he mentioned, include Central, Western, Eastern, Volta, and Oti regions. 

The Minister further revealed that the e-renewal has led to a complete transformation of the NHIS enrolment process. He mentioned that revenue from the e-renewal constitutes 41 per cent of the first quarter of 2019, and the strengthening of clinical audit has resulted in the recovery of GH¢28.4 million for overbilling of claims.

20% increase in tariffs
Agyeman-Manu further announced plans to increase tariffs for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by 20 per cent before the end of 2019.
He explained that the increment falls in line with government’s commitment to eliminate the financial barriers associated with Universal Health Coverage.
“Our key strategy to achieve financial access to healthcare is our NHIS. As a result of the efficiency gains, the authority is in the position to increase service tariffs by 20 per cent this year,” he said.
The new tariffs, he explained, came into effect on April 1, 2019, but providers were complaining about what they pay facilities for seeing their registered patients.
He said by the close of June 2019, “sub-district facilities and below would be able to enhance our achievement of Universal Health Coverage”.
“We are concentrating on taking healthcare to the last bite so we are working to the extent that by the end of June this year all facilities below district level will be paid everything Health Insurance owes them, and their bills will now be paid according to the law. Three months in arrears, that is what the law says. I will make sure we will live up to this throughout so that all of us will have access to healthcare without financial barriers.”
Significant success in reducing high-burden diseases
Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu disclosed that Ghana has recorded significant success in reducing high-burden diseases nationwide.  
He said no case of meningitis attributable to meningococcal, a bacterium, has so far been detected.
He said this feat was achieved after the Meningococcal Conjugate Campaign was launched in 2012. 
He further noted that no new cholera outbreak has been reported since 2017. 
On tuberculosis control, the Minister said intensified case finding has been extended to 113 facilities, with a goal of reaching out to 216 facilities nationwide. 
He said a total of 14,200 of all forms of TB were detected in 2018, out of a target of 19,764.
He further revealed that the treatment success rate for 2018 was very good and stood at 85%. 
“This is commensurate to international standards,” he said. 
On malaria control, the Minister mentioned that his outfit has distributed over 15.5 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLITN) to at-risk populations and targeted risk groups. 
“In April, we made history, with Ghana being the second country in the world (after Malawi) to pilot the malaria vaccine. This is part of our interventions to reduce the burden of malaria in Ghana,” he said.
He said for the next three years, between 120,000 and 150,000 children will be vaccinated. 
Health Management Information System
The ministry, he says, is developing a national data and electronic medical record for the health sector.
The system, he said, has been piloted successfully in the Central Region, and 28 health facilities are currently using the application.
Malaria Vaccination
Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, Director-General of Ghana Health Service, urged parents not to listen to anti-vaccine campaigners and ensure their wards are vaccinated against malaria.
According to him, vaccines play a key role in global health and development, but their broader value is still today highly underestimated. 
He said the surest way for African countries to eliminate malaria by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) is to adopt vaccination in malaria prevention.
He said malaria alone sinks about 50 per cent of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims, and if Ghana is to eliminate malaria and its attendant treatment cost, the NHIA will be able to channel more funds to tackle other new diseases.

By John Elliot HAGAN, Accra

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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An Entrepreneur, Corporate Communications Executive and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A Senior Journalist with Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). In 2015, he won a £35,000 postgraduate scholarship to study MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow who studied at Clark Atlanta University in USA on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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