NDC’s free primary healthcare laudable but… – GMA Gen Secretary

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The free primary healthcare policy announced by the opposition National Democratic Congress is good but not feasible, the General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association has said.

Dr Justice Yankson said on the face of it , the policy aimed at providing free healthcare for cocoa farmers and the aged is laudable but shudder to think of the future of the policy.

Sharing his thoughts on Joy FM’s Newsfile, on the day the programme focused on the manifestos of the two main political parties, the GMA scribe stressed on the need for clarity before implementation.

“What catches my attention is the free primary healthcare but it raises a lot of issues. Yes, the policy itself is good because we want everybody to get access to healthcare. So, on that basis it is okay.

“But when we get into the issues…what becomes of our national health insurance because with this promise if implemented at least from the district level downwards, anybody who tries to access those facilities, it has to be free.

“You don’t need to have health insurance card but what then becomes of our health insurance card?” he quizzed.

Mr Yanskon also mentioned the need for education on how the project will be implemented, the beneficiaries and the source of funding.

“Primary healthcare constitute the bulk of what we do so all the facilities depend on health insurance. Does it mean we still may have to pay some amount?” he noted.

He further indicated that as a country “we have never been able to meet what ECOWAS said was the benchmark for us. It says 15% should go into healthcare but a lot of times we failed to meet the target.”

He urged the opposition NDC to take a second look at the policy and not be blinded by politics.

The NDC, in its manifesto released on September 7, this year, said it would provide free healthcare to all cocoa farmers.

Aside from the free healthcare, it would also exempt all cocoa farmers from NHIS premium payment for secondary and tertiary care.

The party is expected to create a biometric database of all cocoa farmers and make available at all cocoa clinics at any point for cocoa farmers and their dependents.

In addition to the existing Cocoa Clinics in Accra, Tafo (Eastern Region) Debiso and Kumasi, the next NDC government has promised to ensure that COCOBOD builds well-equipped hospitals in each of
the cocoa-growing regions.

The manifesto titled the ‘People’s Manifesto: Jobs, Prosperity and more’, is said to have been inspired by the desires of the average Ghanaian.

The manifesto was divided into six key areas: fixing the economy, promoting human development, providing infrastructure for growth, providing decent jobs, good governance and corruption, deepening international relations and foreign affairs.

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