Despite the major challenges facing Ghana’s health sector, the Ghana Business Development Review (GBDR), 2018 has described the industry as “one of the fastest growing in sub-Saharan Africa.”
According to the Review, there have been major capital investments in both hospital infrastructure and increased health budget to over 500%.
As part of key development strides, the GBDR further highlights the staggering growth in the membership and finances of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“…indigents, under 18 years, pregnant women and SSNIT pensioners continues to dominate the scheme’s membership pool,” the review indicated.
But this increase according to the review has led to increase in healthcare consumption, since the dominant clients have high disease burden.
For this reason, NHIS claims expenditure alone have constantly taken a significant proportion of revenue inflow, causing health businesses along the service and supply chain to encounter severe financial challenges.
“Most health services providers operate on negative balance sheets…this has pushed health providers to invest in service delivery, medical logistics, supplies and capital assets with bank loans,” the GBDR stated.
To mitigate the burden of NHIS and to conserve resources, the review revealed that some health providers deliberately reduce the number of client encounters.
According to the GBDR, “They do this by offering less attractive services, referring clients, reducing input into production function or refusing care for NHIS clients.”
Analyst therefore argue that, holding constant the current financing pool, the scheme will be no more if coverage increases to 60% or more.
It was indicative in the report that the supply of health professionals across the country had improved
With a total workforce of 68,365 in 2015, the review predicts a 37.4% in 2018.
The report however bemoans the unsatisfactory distribution of health human resources which according to GBDR, is skewed towards Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.
Though the northern regions are purported to be the least supplied, doctors in the Upper West Region have increased by 76%.
This stride according to the report is as a result of proper health incentives, good accommodation and recreational infrastructure.
The Ghana Business Development Review has been put together by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) to create a national platform for the provision of a research-based annual review of developments and performance of business across various sectors of the Ghanaian economy.