Government must prioritise health care – Public Health Expert


A Public Health and Patients Safety Expert, Dr Elorm Otchi says the shortage of childhood vaccines is due to government’s failure to prioritise health care.

According to him, although the Ghana Health Service (GHS) says delivery of quality health care is paramount, it does not demonstrate that.

“Healthcare should be prioritised. We are saying Ghana Health Service, their key slogan is health is wealth, isn’t it?

“So, if health is wealth, and we are thinking of all of this economic mess that we have created and are grappling with, I mean if we should prioritize health, probably we will be able to get ourselves out of this mess,” he said.

Speaking on JoyNews’ The Pulse on Friday, he explained that although there have been discussions for Ghana to increase its healthcare budget from the 8% to at least 15% ,much has not been done about it.

Earlier on March 10, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, addressing the Parliament, said $6.4 million has been paid to UNICEF to deliver vaccines to Ghana.

The Minister said the vaccines are expected to be delivered between two to three weeks.

On the back of this, Dr Otchi stressed that if there were enough funds for the health sector, the shortage could have been avoided.

Outlining steps to address the situation, he said “the Ministry led by the Minister should take responsibility for the issue and be upfront.

“Secondly, we are saying that government should prioritise health care, because it is more in the mouth than in action,” he said.

Meanwhile, he has advised parents with newborns to hold fast to their faith and not unnecessarily expose their kids.

“As a Christian, for parents, I will say that one thing is praying to God. Second is also the prevention and how they expose their babies in this period is key.

“See, because they don’t have to necessarily be exposing the kids and their babies, especially to visitors, and then to the environment.

“I think that becomes a primary duty and our primary responsibility where they are carrying their children to, who is holding them,” he told host, Blessed Sogah.

He however appealed to the general public to keep health workers in their prayers.

“We also have to be praying for our healthcare workers. We’ll be dealing with the irresponsibility of state actors because our facilities are going to be flooded.

“We’re going to be dealing with COVID and its complications, Lassa fever and its complications and then measles and its complications, polio and its complications, diphtheria and tuberculosis and all the complications from newborns, children and infants,” he added.

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