Make primary health care services free’

BY: Rosemary Ardayfio
 Dr Robert Kuganab-Lem (right) and Ms Caroline Kwamboka during the interview
Dr Robert Kuganab-Lem (right) and Ms Caroline Kwamboka during the interview

The deputy ranking member on the health committee in parliament, Dr Robert Kuganab-Lem has called on the government to make primary health care services free in order to reduce congestion in the tertiary health facilities.

According to him, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)  should only pay for referrals and tertiary care and not for care at the basic level.

Dr Kuganab-Lem, said these in an interview at the Global Conference on Primary Health held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Binduri, in the Upper East District, noted that Ghana was spending a good portion of its health finanncing on Primary Health care  and the equity was high.

Vital Signs Profiles

He commended the country for embracing the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI), which developed ‘Vital Signs Profiles’ to provide country-by-country snapshot of primary health care, highlighting  where systems are strong and where they are weak, to enable leaders to identify problematic areas and make improvements over time.

The  initiative is a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank Group and World Health Organisation, in collaboration with Ariadne Labs and Results for Development.

Dr Kuganab-Lem, who was involved in the processs of developing Ghana’s profile,  indicated that the Vital Signs Profiles are a good measurement tool that “ we can look at in a glance  to see the successes and gaprs of the health system.

He said the tool had come at a critical time to assist  parliamentarians to  understand what is going on at all levels of the health sector.

“This will help us to know where to intervene as advocates of quality health care for all the citizens’” Dr Kuganab-lem added.


In her contribution, Ms Caroline Kwamboka, Africa Focal Point, European Parliamentary Forum, said it was important to include parliamentarians in the process of developing the Vital Signs Profiles, because they were best placed as the representatives of the people to push government to provide their needs.

She added that the import for including parliamentarians was the opportunity and voice they lent to government systems on importants subjects.