Government to develop policy to promote medical tourism

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Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has stated that government is developing a policy to promote medical tourism in Ghana to serve the ECOWAS Region.

This he said would create the need to retool some of health facilities to embrace the policy, and build synergies and coordination among sectors to reap the full benefits of the programme.

Mr Agyemang-Manu made this observation at the 5th biennial conference of the Ghana Association of Quasi Government Health Institutions (GAQHI), on the GAQHI at 15, achievements, challenges and the way forward.

“Since government cannot do this alone, a public-private partnership agreement with institutions GAQHI will be required to carry it out.”

He said 15 years ago, individual non-associated health institutions owned by the manufacturing, mining and service industries realised the need for a sense of identity and formed an association with the view to being mainstreamed in the health care system of Ghana.

He said GAQHI has complemented government efforts at providing for the health needs of all, while improving geographical access to health care especially to the poor and vulnerable.

Mr Agyemang-Manu commended them for providing quality service to people and for accepting clients on the National Health Insurance Scheme.

He, however, noted that government was aware of the challenges they faced combining their core business with the running of health facilities, as well as the support they required from the ministry to provide them with equipment and involve them in all programmes the Ministry was running.

He assured them of the ministry’s support in their service delivery.

Dr Nsia Asare, Director General, Ghana Health Service (GHS) also commended GAQHI for their achievements over the years but acknowledged that independently, there was very little they could achieve, saying with a collective effort they could dramatically change the story of universal health coverage.

He said to this end, the GHS would like to partner the GAQHI by proving them with the necessary technical assistance for all date to be collected of DHMSII, providing a common platform for the heads of emergency units and the major hospitals to be able to manage and adequately coordinate with each other in times of disaster and handling routine emergencies.

“We will also collaborate with all service providers and training institutions in area of quality improvement, customer care and infection prevention and control.”

Dr Asare reiterated that it was the solemn obligation of health care providers to safeguard the future of the coming generation, expressing the hope that the conference would not be another regular socialising forum, but a time to generate practicable ideas, recognise strengths and weaknesses, develop a vision and design the road map to achieve quality health care delivery.

Mr Kwesi Aniagyei, President of GAQHI, said the association started in 2002, purposely to facilitate communication and exchange of ideas between individual facilities as well as with other stakeholders in the health sector with the common goal of providing quality health.

He said GAQHI consists of all hospitals and health facilities within government institutions whose core or primary business was not health service provision, adding that currently the number of registered members stands at 50 belonging to 24 institutions.

“Our facilities are into disaster management, rescue missions, training of health professional and we provide quality health care to members of our institutions and the general public.”

Mr Aniagyei said they look forward to government and the ministry to supply their needs, saying, GAQHI has become a new agency under the ministry which needs improved attention and treatment similar to other agencies of the ministry.

Source: GNA