President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the country’s existing healthcare architecture was not designed to provide a comprehensive service that could address health issues such as COVID-19, hence a revised National Health Policy.
The President said the need for a revised health policy to cover key determinants of health and not just primary healthcare was crucial.
President Akufo-Addo, who said this when he launched the revised Ghana National Health Policy in Accra on Monday, added that lessons drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic had shown that health crisis could bring all “other sectors of national life to a grinding halt.”
He said the revised health policy is “timely” particularly when the world is battling with the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
President Akufo-Addo said the country’s current health architecture focuses on sickness care, the management of infectious diseases, as well as maternal and child health conditions.
That, he said, had largely been the predominant diseases profiled at the time of the establishment of the country’s healthcare system—immediately and after the attainment of independence.
In an attempt to defeat the virus, President Akufo-Addo said, countries have been trying to find the balance between saving lives and protecting the livelihoods of citizens and also, easing progressively and safely the restrictions put in place against COVID-19.
“Economies have shrunk, job losses have been occasioned and hundreds of thousands of people have tragically lost their lives.”
The second wave of infections in some countries has brought back the imposition of night curfews and partial lockdown, declarations of state emergencies, limitations on the numbers of people permitted at public gatherings and the mandatory fines of persons for not wearing masks.
President Akufo-Addo said in all of that, the phycological impact of the pandemic and its attendant restrictions have been significant.
He said COVID-19 in the 21st century has been described as the “age of design’ “that offers us the opportunity to take a second critical look at the country’s healthcare system.”
That, he said, had given further impetus to the revised national health policy “dubbed “Ensuring Healthy lifestyle for All.”
The adoption of this revised health policy, the President indicated, is consistent with and aligned to the realisation of the 17 UN SDG’s, Agenda 2030, which seeks to build a world that is just, equitable and all-embracing.
Also, President Akufo-Addo said the policy derives inspiration from the Directive Principles of State Policy as enshrined in the Constitution of the 4th Republic, which among others, requires the state to guarantee the right to good healthcare for people living in Ghana irrespective of colour, race geographical location religion and political affiliation.
“It’s also motivated by the overall national medium-term policy framework set out in the coordinated program of economic and social development policies, 2017 – 2024 and recognises several global continental and regional compacts and policy framework.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD