The Brong-Ahafo Chapter of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health has observed that to meet the goal of universal access to health care in Ghana urgent expansion and improvement of government health services required.
Medical facilities according to the Coalition are unevenly distributed across the country, with most rural areas lacking basic facilities such as hospitals and clinics as well as doctors, nurses and essential medicines.
The Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of the Coalition, Kobina Afena-Sam, made these observations when he led the members of Coalition on a float to launch the Free Universal Access to Health Care Campaign in Sunyani.
The Regional Chairman, Kobina Afena-Sam noted that one quarter of the population live over 60km from a health facility where a doctor can be consulted. He said these disparities should be urgently addressed through equitable investment and distribution of health workers, infrastructure and medical equipment.
The government, he said must also significantly scale up service delivery across the country as a whole in order to meet increased demand as a result of removing direct payments. Mr. Afena-Sam noted that scaling up of Community-Based Health Planning and Services popularly known as CHPS compounds will help accessibility, efficiency and quality of primary health care across the country.
Unfortunately, he said despite an initial surge of progress between 1999 and 2005, the planned output of the CHPS appears to have lost momentum in large part due to inadequate resources and investment as well as ongoing human resource shortages.
The Regional Chairman of the Coalition revealed that of an estimated six thousand, 400 CHPS zones required nationwide only 500 have been made functional to date of which only 300 are completed with a compound for the Community Health Officer.
He therefore called on government to re-commit to CHPS initiative as the backbone of national efforts to deliver primary health care for all and the foundation of a functioning referral system. T
he Brong-Ahafo Regional Organizer of the Coalition, Gabriel Bernakuu who is also the Executive Director of Mission of Hope for Society Foundation, said free health care for all in Ghana is within reach. According to him, investing in the health of all citizens will lay the foundations for a healthy economy into the future.
Mr. Bernakuu therefore called on the media and religious leaders as well as traditional authorities to join the Free Universal Access to Health Care Campaign to make it a success.