How to revamp health sector, by Kuku, Grange

Kuku observed that that the “most important part of healthcare delivery is the ability of the person to pay” and regretted that while Ghana’s health insurance scheme covered upward of 70 per cent of Ghanaians, the Nigerian health insurance scheme has only three per cent of the population on board.

He said the organised private sector should “be forced to pay premium for their workers” while those outside it should be encouraged to form professional groups or co-operatives and register for the purpose of paying premium for their members.

Kuku also called for a “community health-based insurance, which will allow the poor in rural areas to contribute small amount of money and buy insurance from health insurance organisations”.

For the poorest of the poor who cannot pay for health insurance, Kuku called on the government to help them by paying their premiums as is currently obtainable in the United States.

“In that case, 99 per cent of the population will be covered”, Kuku added.

Grange said although the country could boast of a handful of experts in different fields in the health sector, many of them were engaged outside the country.

She charged the government to create a work environment that these Nigerian medical experts in the Diaspora found attractive so as to “temporarily come home to help in developing certain areas of healthcare in the country”.

Grange opposed the integration of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) with orthodox medicine as a way of reducing infant and maternal mortality rate, saying that “the fact remains that TBAs are not educated really and they are not properly monitored, which makes it very difficult to integrate them”.

The paediatrician said advanced technology in birth delivery and baby monitoring, as well as maternal care had made it inadvisable to “follow the old-time proposal that TBA should be integrated”.

However, Grange canvassed the establishment of more health outreaches or sending out community health extension workers to rural areas who, she said, over time would take over the activities of TBAs and provide “increased access to trained birth attendants”.

Grange noted: “We have enough policies, plans and strategies. We just have to implement those policies and strategies and we will have an excellent healthcare delivery system”.

She said the OTNCP was interested in helping government to reduce child and maternal mortality rate in the country with its free “integrated mother and child health service for pregnant women”.

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