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27.07.2005 Health

Several issues have to be tackled for success of NHIS - Quashigah

Several issues have to be tackled for success of NHIS - Quashigah

Accra, July 27, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, on Wednesday said human resource development; conditions of service of health professionals and brain drain were some of the obstacles that needed to be tackled for the effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

These, he said, would enhance the work of health workers and help to deliver a holistic quality health service to the people. "If our efficiency can maintain the human capital of this country in a healthy, strong and active state to achieve higher productivity we will be making a positive contribution to wealth creation," he said. The Health Minister said this at the inauguration of three projects estimated at about 15.3 billion cedis at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

The first is a 60-room administration block funded from the Hospital's internally generated funds at a cost of about 8.8 billion cedis on which work began in September 2003 and was completed this year. The second is the rehabilitation and equipping of the Gynaecology Theatre, which began in 2003 and was completed this year at a cost of about 5.1 billion cedis with assistance from the Government. The third project is the Hearing Assessment Centre built from the Hospital's internally generated funds at a cost of 1.4 billion cedis with support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that provided equipment and training at a cost of 100,000 dollars. The Minister noted that there was the need to ensure that the population remained healthy, strong and active by promoting good health and vitality through education, sensitisation, advocacy and enforcement of regulation.

Major Quashigah listed some of the areas that needed enforcement as environmental hygiene and sanitation, safe and potable water, good nutrition, exercise, appropriate housing and healthy lifestyles. He called for the protection of the people against diseases and injuries as preventive measures, the restoration of health through the curative measures of diagnosis and treatment and rehabilitation of the disabled to the highest possible level of activity.

He challenged the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Administration to immediately put in place an effective plan for the periodic maintenance culture to set the pace for a new maintenance culture in the country. This would make the new slogan "Creating Wealth Through Health" a reality.

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Chief Executive Officer of Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital, said there had been enormous transformations in the past three years, which had come about partly through support from government through the Sector Ministry and an excellent working relationship with the Board.

He noted that improving infrastructure and equipment base of a hospital alone by itself was not an indication of a success of a hospital but rather a better patient satisfaction adding that the Hospital had chalked success in this area.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said period of waiting at the outpatient department had decreased through efficient procedures, infection rates in the various surgical areas and maternal mortality had decreased and drugs were now available 24 hours a week and at very competitive prices. He said some of the 26 projects that had been undertaken by the Hospital over the past three years are the completion of a new Administration Block, establishment of a block factory, acquisition of six new dialysis machines for the Dialysis Unit of the Medical School, rehabilitation of Labour Wards and Maternity Theatres and completion of a Central Laboratory.

The Korle-Bu CEO said despite the success story, the Hospital still had many challenges including inadequate accommodation for staff, overcrowding in certain clinical areas, especially the Emergency Ward, transportation problems and care of paupers and insolvent patients. President Kufuor with the assistance of Professor Frimpong-Boateng laid a block for work to commence on a 27.5 billion-cedi Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Centre, the first of its kind in West Africa, to be financed by the Government from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Fund.