The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Spokesperson on Health and member of the political party, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah has intimated that the free primary healthcare policy promised by the NDC, will be the single largest social intervention under the fourth republic.
Speaking on the key points, Dr. Omane Boamah opined that the Free Primary Healthcare Plan seeks to provide quality healthcare gratuitously for all Ghanaians and will deliver preventive health, health promotion interventions and curative care.
Although a great deal of scholars have lauded the NDC for the great initiative on the Free Primary Healthcare, other academicians and experts in the health sector have chided the policy, stating that the policy is not feasible.
However, the question that begs asking is: will the Free Primary Healthcare be the single largest social intervention under the fourth republic?
Dr. Omane Boamah intimated that the Free Primary Healthcare is not to take the place of the National Health Insurance Scheme, but the two policies under the flagship of the NDC will be strengthened and will work together to provide quality health care.
“One of it is that, let’s have a Free Primary Healthcare such that, healthcare is free at the district level; you go to the district level; it is free, the polyclinic; it is free, the health centre; it is free and the CHPS compound; it is free but, when you are referred to a regional hospital, health insurance, if you subscribe to it, can take care of you.
“When you are referred to a tertiary hospital, health insurance if you subscribe to, it can take care of you. Assuming you are not a subscriber of any these but, because you want to strengthen the NHIS, we will still encourage people to subscribe to the NHIS so that, when you are referred, they can take care of you, assuming you are not a subscriber.”
The NDC further revealed that when voted into power, the party as a government will form a consortium of the willing, made of the media, philanthropist, public spirited organization and government to set up a transparent cancer and kidney disease trust fund, later in the future.
Elucidating how the NHIS would be strengthened, Dr. Omane Boamah noted that the NDC will enforce the provision of the National Health Insurance Act 2012, (ACT 852) section 54 which states that “the Minister responsible for Finance shall within thirty days after the collection of the levy cause the levy to be paid directly into the Fund and furnish the Minister responsible for Health and the Authority with evidence of the payment.”
Dr. Omane Boamah further stressed that through the VAT concept, if monies are paid religiously from what is collected from the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), and also stop exemptions that include NHIL, more monies would be raked into the scheme.
A part of the Free Primary Healthcare policy according to Dr. Omane Boamah, would be funded from tax and non-tax revenue from the consolidated fund and also the oil revenue from the hydrocarbon sector into the consolidated fund.
It can be recalled that during the general elections in 2008, the NDC pledged in their manifesto to implement the one-time National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) premium policy as part of its initiative to expand coverage and cater for the poor, if voted into power.
According to Kwaku Badu who featured in an article in 2016, he intimated that unfortunately, the NDC failed to implement the one-time NHIS premium, opining that “after securing the mandate of the majority of the electorates including my family and friends to clasp the ultimate power, the NDC government shamefully reneged on its pledge of implementing one-time NHIS premium. Obviously, they lied their way to power.”
In spite of the backlash on the policy, the NDC is optimistic noting that the project will be the first of its kind under the fourth republic.
In furtherance, Dr. Omane Boamah emphatically noted that President John Mahama, flag bearer of the NDC, has demonstrated an unquenchable determination and an unrelenting mission to ensure that the policy is implemented.