Statement: Ghana needs to increase spending on health by 5%
MamaYe demands more investment in health services to
save more mothers and babies
Ghana plansto spend 12.5% of its total budget on healthcare in 2013, which amounts to about 136 GHS for each person. This means that Ghana is close but still failing to fulfil its commitment to ring fence 15% of total government spending for health, in what is known as the Abuja Declaration.
On 14th and 15th July, Africa's heads of state will gather in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss progress made towards meeting the landmark 15% health financing pledge made twelve years ago in the same city.
Speaking on behalf of the MamaYeCampaign, Prof. Richard Adanu said: “This Africa Union Special Summit provides a window of opportunity for President John Dramani Mahama to confirm its promise to the people of Ghana and ensure that enough money is spent on our health services. Too many mothers and babies continue to lose their lives because they do not have access to good quality health services.”
“With the current decentralisation of the health system, ensuring an increased flow and allocation of resources at regional and district levels are critical to sustaining the livelihood of the citizenry. Pursuant to this, we are calling on all concerned Ghanaians to join us make demands on government and encourage it to strive to meet its own pledge,” he noted.
Each African government also signed up to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. These goals include:
• reducing the number of maternal deaths by 75%
• providing universal access to reproductive health
• cutting the number of children under five who die by two thirds
Ghana has made significant progress on these goals, but will not meet them without more investment in health across the whole country.
Public Health Finance expert, Dr. Justice Nonvingon believes meeting the health needs of Ghanaians require the application of effective financial guidelines and policies that integrate the inputs and concerns of all stakeholders of the sector.
“To achieve equitable and affordable health care for all Ghanaians, we will still need the government to provide subsidized health care service to the under-served, and the development of alternative, self-sustaining service financing and delivery mechanisms to serve the better-off,” he asserted.
Spending more, and spending more effectively, on health services for Ghana's mothers and babies, has a positive impact on other parts of the economy. According to a recent study by Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health:
“For every dollar spent on key interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, about US$ 20 in benefits could be generated through producing healthy children who enjoy better cognitive development, achieve more at school and become healthy, productive adults.”
We look forward to seeing an expenditure review in order to determine whether Ghana's government has actually spent what it budgeted for the sector.
Find out more on the MamaYe website (www.mamaye.org.gh), a resource centre that provides more information about other Ghana government commitments, the latest evidence on our maternal and newborn health, as well as suggestions for actions that you can take to help save mothers and babies.