Dr Justice Arthur, the Central Regional Chairman for the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), has called government to amend and rename the COVID-19 levy as a fund.
He said this would provide effective responses to disease outbreaks and future pandemics.
Dr Arthur, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana New Agency (GNA) at Cape Coast, said the recent spike of vaccine shortage, reinforced the urgent need for the country to stop relying on foreign countries particularly in times of health emergencies.
He said there should be a sustainable funding since levies through the Consolidated Fund were difficult to track and account for, hence, the relevance of converting the levy to fund health emergencies in the country to ensure effective accountability of its usage.
The establishment of a health emergency fund would again help position the country to effectively tackle health-related emergencies and aid preventions, he added.
Dr Arthur noted that the Consolidated Fund was the principal Parliamentary instrument through which government’s revenues were deposited and from which expenditure, via warrants, were withdrawn.
“When monies are channelled to the right offices, it can be accounted for and used for the intended purpose” he stated.
He called for the immediate establishment of Infectious Disease Hospitals as promised by the Government during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
There should also be a support system for active Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) at various facilities, to enable public health officers to identify problems early for prevention, Dr Arthur said.
“The country’s health system is based only on primary health care which lack adequate resources and financing,” he said.
Dr Arthur emphasised that the health care services were financed by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which was inadequate and affected the regular supply of medication at various facilities.
He said the NHIS Levy, should be distinct from the Consolidated Fund to enable the NHIA resource health facilities on time to improve health care delivery in the country.
“Because the NHIS Levy goes into the Consolidated Fund, the Authority does not supply medication early and it affects quality healthcare delivery in the country,” he added.
Dr. Arthur said there should be sustained availability of funds to support facilities, especially those in rural and remote areas.
Again, the public health system must be resourced and empowered to track and monitor communities promptly to identify outbreaks early to prevent their spread or negative impacts.
After being resourced and funded, health facility managers should be held accountable for the usage of funds received and the necessary tools and logistics made available to counter emergencies after being resourced.
He advised the Government to implement existing policies and programs to strengthen the healthcare sector.
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