The country’s vaccine challenges faced by the health sector will soon be a thing of the past as government has assured it will address it in 2018.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta made said this when he presented the 2018 budget to Parliament on Wednesday.
Over the past years, Ghana has struggled with the adequate provision of vaccine, especially for some childhood killer diseases.
In July this year, mothers had to wait for about a week for their babies to be vaccinated against polio and measles following a shortage of the vaccine in public hospitals.
This was because Ghana owed the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the international body that procures the vaccine, a huge sum of money.
Confirming the shortage, Director-General at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare said the shortage came about because Ghana has failed to pay about $10 million to UNICEF for the procurement of the vaccines.
But this will happen no more.
The Finance Minister said in 2018, the “health ministry will continue to address the vaccine challenges that the country has faced over the last eight years and develop a clear sustainability plan for vaccines and antiretroviral medicines in anticipation of our exit from GAVI”.
He also indicated that other health sector activities in 2018 will be directed at reducing morbidity and mortality, especially maternal and neonatal and improving the quality of life.
This, the minister said will be achieved by increasing access to quality health services and improving efficiency in the governance and management of the health delivery system.
On the indebtedness of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr Ofori-Atta said government has paid GH¢600 million, resulting in the improvement of funding and the smooth running of hospitals.
In line with government’s commitment to revive the Scheme, the health ministry has set up technical teams to review the recommendations of the NHIS Review Report, he said.