Over the years, Ghana’s health sector has been rapidly evolving from large scale investments having been made in infrastructure like the expansion and building of district and regional hospitals as well as Polyclinics to bring service closer to the people. Ghana’s healthcare sector is one of the most advanced in West Africa and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates refers to Ghana’s primary healthcare system as “probably the best in Africa” during his visit to Ghana.
Successive governments have also launched several initiatives to widen access to healthcare since its inception, like the subsidized National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with the objective of attaining universal coverage and to provide financial access to quality health care for residents in Ghana. According to Fitch Solutions medical report, the uptake of the health insurance scheme appears better than a similar scheme adopted in Nigeria, with an increasing number of patients creating a rising demand for available and accessible healthcare facilities.
The COVID-19 struck at a time the economy was firmly on the path of fiscal consolidation and caused a strain in our healthcare system. However, compared to many countries, Ghana has been rather successful in managing the COVID-19 outbreak and known to be the first country in Africa to procure the vaccines. This success stems from the swift, proactive, and bold response of the Government to the pandemic. Undeniably, the passage of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020, (Act 1012) to enforce social and physical distancing protocols, and implementation of the provisions of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851) have been central in protecting Ghanaian lives and the public health system.
Some measures being implemented by Government to address the pandemic include:
- Launch of the Ghana CARES post COVID programme to stabilize, revitalize and transform the health sector and other affected sectors.
- Procurement, distribution, and administration of vaccines ‒ As of February 12th, 2022, over 12 million Ghanaians received their doses of the vaccines.
- Establishment of 14 medical waste treatment facilities across the country for safe disposal of medical waste in collaboration with the private sector.
- 33 major health projects approved for implementation at a cost of €890 million.
- Over 14 million pieces of personal protective equipment produced domestically and distributed to health workers, students, teaching and non-teaching staff of tertiary and secondary educational institutions.
- Fumigation and disinfection of public places including, airports, markets, schools, hospitals, offices etc.
It is worth mentioning that the Government’s Medical Drone Delivery System (“Fly-To-Save-A-Life”) a 24-hour health delivery system which aimed at actualising Government’s ambition of making Ghana the hub for pharmaceutical and healthcare investments with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region. This effort was highly endorsed by international representatives such as Julian Braithwaite, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of UK Mission to the WTO. During the outbreak of the pandemic in Ghana, the use of innovative methods like drones to deliver COVID-19 testing samples and Personal protective equipment (PPEs) around the country caught the attention of several international organisations.