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05.03.2009 Health

Let's work in peace and unity – Health Minister


Dr. George Sipa Yankey, Minister of Health, on Wednesday outlined his vision for the health sector, saying the promotion of peace and unity would take centre stage of his administration.

He reiterated the need for the staff to put behind their political affiliations and work hard to provide quality healthcare for all.

"Let us all put aside our partisan associations, unite and build a healthy and strong nation to improve conditions of living in the country," he said at a meeting with Directors of the Ministry in Accra.

The meeting was to enable the new minister to get first hand information on the activities and challenges of the Ministry and device ways of solving such problems.

Dr. Yankey said preventive healthcare was one of the paramount issues the ministry would tackle since numerous diseases like malaria, cholera and polio could be prevented rather than resorting to curative measures.

He said the preventive care programme could be achieved through effective collaboration with other sector ministries like the Ministry of Agriculture.

He said very soon the nation would be a medical hub of the sub-region, adding, “the feasibility studies on the project would be completed this year”.

Dr Yankey said: “The facilities are already there, we will just have to upgrade the equipment in these hospitals. We do this by localising medical treatment and making it affordable so that people will not be referred to seek medical attention outside Ghana”.

He said the regenerative health programme as well as the malaria-free campaign would be strengthened effectively by embarking on mass spraying, free distribution of bed nets to pregnant women and educating the public to develop positive attitudes towards their environments.

With regard to the delay in the payment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims by health providers, Dr Yankey said plans were underway to develop a common information communication technology (ICT) platform to enable health providers and the NHIS office to summit their claims.

He said the introduction of this ICT would also prevent fraudulent activities in the system and ensure prompt payment.

Dr. Yankey said differences between the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health over stewardship would be settled to enable peace to reign between the two bodies.

Madam Salimata Abdul-Salam, Acting Chief Director of the Health Ministry, who gave the overview, said one of the challenges facing the sector was lack of coordination by other agencies, inadequate equipment and health infrastructure.

She said the performance of the sector had declined due to these problems and called for measures to curtail them.

Madam Abdul-Salam on behalf of the directors assured the minister of their support to help address challenges in the ministry.