The Swiss Spirit Hotel & Suites Alisa in Accra hosted the launch of the Healthcare Federation of Ghana (HFG), which has a keen eye on ensuring improved access to quality healthcare in Ghana, through private sector involvement.
The launch saw the nine directors of the Federation introduced to the public after their election at an Annual General Meeting prior to the launch event.The launch was graced by various health professionals, representatives from the Ministry of Health, USAID, the World Bank and IMANI Africa.
Dr. Amit Thakker, the Chairman of the Africa Healthcare Federation, was also at the event, having played a key role in the Federation’s formation.
The HGF has its membership drawn from private institutions operating within the healthcare industry; ranging from the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurers and even firms engaged in providing healthcare infrastructure.
At the launch, various shortcomings in the health sector were noted by various speakers, particularly issues having to do with the human resource deficits, donor dependency, the lack of efficiency within the sector, and the proliferation of substandard or fake medication in Ghana.
It is in view of these issues that the Federation seeks to support the adherence to standards, act as a negotiating body with government, and provide a forum for consultation within the health sector.
But beyond the problems in the big picture of healthcare in Ghana, the Federation’s Chairman, Dr. Gilbert Buckle, stressed that meeting the needs of the public is one of the key driving factors of the new organization.
“There are many issues that we believe coming together enables us to address. One includes access to care, one includes reducing the cost of care to the population, improving the quality of healthcare that is provided… healthcare is all about private sector organizations who want to support the delivery of high-quality healthcare,” he outlined to citifmonline.
The group essentially believes it has “a responsibility to make sure healthcare is affordable and accessible,” Dr. Buckle stated.
As an example of how the activities of the HFG could help the average Ghanaian’s health care needs, Dr. Buckle noted some corporate members of the Federation had advocated for the removal of taxes on some pharmaceutical inputs.
“If that happens, then the products produced in Ghana become cheaper for the patients. We also will negotiate with the government for other tax reliefs or even among ourselves, try to rationalize and harmonize our costs, so costs come down and make it [healthcare] cheaper.”
In a years time, the organization expects to have grown its membership significantly, and Dr. Buckle also added that “We should have been able to place issues of national concern on the policy table with the Ministry of Health and government in general. We also hope to be able to see a movement towards opening up the space for private sector involvement in providing healthcare services in Ghana,” the HFG Chairman added.