Government has secured a 42.5 million pounds grant to help broaden the reach of medical care currently provided for pregnant women in the country. As a result, pregnant women who attend public hospitals nationwide will receive free medical care, President Kufuor has announced.
The programme is estimated to cost government $6 million annually. The grant was given by the British government.
Presidential Press Secretary Andrew Awuni, who briefed journalists on events at the just ended conference on Public-Private Sector Cooperation for the attainment of the Millenium Development Goals, said the President has charged the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to institute measures to ensure the smooth start of the programme as early as possible.
Currently, pregnant women who are holders of the National Health Insurance Scheme identity cards receive free medical care because they have already paid the required premium. However, under the broadened scheme, every pregnant woman will receive free medical care irrespective of whether they hold an NHIS ID card or not.
Buttressing its commitment to reducing the development gap between the north and south, pregnant women in northern Ghana, apart from receiving free delivery services in public hospitals, will now receive free ante-natal and post-natal medical services as well.
The provision of free health care to expectant mothers is aimed at reducing maternal mortality, one of the Millenium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015 by developing countries, Mr Awuni explained.
The Conference, which was chaired by British Prime Minister Gordon, sought to elicit support from the private sector by governments to achieve the MDGs by the stipulated year of 2015. Ghana and Rwanda, who have performed well and shown significant progress towards the attainment of the goals, were invited to the Conference to share their experiences.