Cape Coast, Aug 05, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufour on Thursday acknowledged the crucial role pharmacists play in health care delivery and urged them to use their expertise and vigilance to help ensure the successful implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He said their unique position as drug experts was significant to the cost and the sustainability of the scheme and that its success would depend largely on their professional judgements, competence and vigilance.
President Kufour made the call in a speech read for him at the opening of the annual general meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PHS) at Cape Coast under the theme, " quality pharmaceutical care-a critical component of the National Health Insurance Scheme." The five-day meeting, which is being attended by more than 300 pharmacists nationwide, would discuss the contribution of the society towards the effective implementation of the scheme.
President Kufuor, whose speech was read for him by Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, reiterated the government's commitment to the success of the scheme, which he said was borne out of the promise it made to make access to basic health care easy no matter the circumstances of the individual or family.
President Kufuor said it was the desire of the government that every citizen received quality health care including pharmaceutical care.
He said the government would, therefore, make efforts to support individuals and companies that would wish to extend quality pharmaceutical services to deprived areas.
President Kufour said the issue of finding alternative financing mechanism to health care bills had engaged the attention of the government since it became evident that the policy of cost recovery, was not allowing for total recovery.
He said the government considered a third party involvement in health care delivery as a way of ensuring effectiveness, efficiency and equity, stressing that in systems without health insurance, people with high incomes, profit more from tax for health care, than those with low income.
President Kufuor said: " With health insurance, a more equitable distribution of resources and better access of low income groups of health coverage would be achieved".
President Kufour, expressed concern about the exodus of health workers abroad and said the government was doing its best to create a congenial environment for health personnel to work adding that 450 vehicles have been ordered for health workers.
On the 2004 General Election, he repeated his pledge to ensure that the polls would be organised freely, peaceful without violence. He called on Ghanaians to desist from any acts of violence and indiscipline during the elections.
Mr Frank Amoako Boateng, President of the Society, said pharmacists in the country have been under-utilised in the promotion of health. He said the society has so far trained 55 pharmacists, dispensing technicians/technologist and licensed chemical sellers to disseminate information on the NHIS.
He also urged them to ensure the success of the scheme by checking irrational prescribing, rational dispensing and promote counselling of patients.