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24.07.2004 Health

Minister urges health managers to be pro-active

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Sunyani, July 24, GNA - Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, at the weekend urged senior managers of the Ghana Health Service to be pro-active and to take initiatives to help the country break out of the poverty cycle.

Addressing the close of a five-day second meeting of the managers, the Minister enjoined them to chart a new course in their output and endeavour to get out of routine work.

"You don't need to be cocooned in routine work because you are capable of doing more in health delivery", he said.

The meeting, under the theme, "Meeting the Challenge: Strategically Planning for 2005", reviewed the performance of the Service for 2003 and status of the implementation of the 2004 programme of work during the first half of the year.

The participants also discussed the recommendations of the 2004 annual health sector review, including the in-depth reviews and the resultant aide memoir, as well as the status of implementation of key decisions taken at the first senior managers meeting as the basis for setting the strategic direction for 2005.

Dr Afriyie charged the senior managers to focus on objectives and results, which they could define to their subordinates, entreating them to be "end results thinkers" since the government does not stifle initiatives.

"As first line managers, challenge and discuss the guidelines to expand your horizon", he added.

Dr Afriyie noted that the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme posed huge challenges to them, but stressed that the challenges were not insurmountable and asked them to reconfigure themselves for their solutions.

He entreated the senior managers to programme the routine maintenance of health facilities and to document health properties to avoid future conflicts with other stakeholders.

Citing conflicts over plots of land released for the development of health facilities in some parts of the country, Dr Afriyie urged the senior managers to collect all title deeds on health properties in transition.

The meeting noted in recommendations that work done so far on the National Health Insurance Scheme included the outline of its design, redesign of patient record and data capture systems including hospital forms, an accreditation check list, a staff education hand book and strategy and an outline of a monitoring and evaluation system to be able to track the early effects of the implementation of the scheme. It recommended the provision of feeding of patients as part of the treatment process to be part of the scheme's benefit package and agreed that the documents on scheme design should be disseminated among district directors for their study and inputs.

The meeting also agreed that the Service's response should be more focused on staff education and orientation and recommended that steps be taken to train trainers for the regions to facilitate the exercise. "Copies of the LI on the scheme should be made available to managers for their inputs," the senior managers added.

On financing and resource allocation, the meeting noted that some regions were handicapped in the allocation of resources and demanded some clarity in the criteria for allocation at the national level. It called for a review of the criteria to measure up the workload and other indicators of resource demand on the Budget Management Centres (BMCs).

"Regions should be allowed to provide inputs into intra regional resource allocation by sending BMC allocations to the regions in bulk. Regions will then apply more sensitive criteria to reallocate to districts and other BMCs", the senior managers added. They noted the continuing efforts by colleague health professionals, irrespective of the low numbers, severe resource constraints and low wages, to achieve key targets in public health and institutional development.

The meeting recommended that the health of health workers needed to be put high on the agenda of the overall welfare package and set up a task team to finalise the criteria and modalities of fund management to be submitted to the Minister to speed up the implementation of deprived area incentives.

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