Samuel Arthur of the Coalition of NGOs on Health has said that both major party manifestos fall short of offering substantive national healthcare change, partly because they fail to deal with the issue in tandem with other problems like public hygiene.
From the perspective of a health expert working at the grassroots, he said, the proposals look too broad and lack measurable and achievable goals.
He questioned the value of the NDCís manifesto promises to build more teaching hospitals, pointing out that Ghana already boasts of a number of quality hospitals which are inaccessible to citizens living in remote areas.
Speaking on Joy FMís Super Morning Show , Arthur proposed that the government should instead focus on supplying these areas with adequately trained staff and the necessary equipment to properly diagnose and treat as many conditions as possible.
Specifically, he advocated for the increased availability of more thorough care in chiefsí centers and for a more effective referral system in cases where diagnosis or treatment is beyond the abilities of healthcare professionals in isolated communities.
He expressed disappointment in both parties for failing to bring everyday people into the conversation as they drafted the healthcare sections of their manifestos and aired suspicions that party healthcare experts may have even been excluded from these talks.
Arthur also criticized the NPP for commenting on the mismanagement of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) without mentioning which aspects of the scheme need better management.
He also accused the NDC of backtracking on its commitment to a one-time NHIS premium and said that both parties should have committed to offset the degree to which the NHIS relies on premiums for funding by expanding the tax base.
Responding to the contention that the government cannot provide everything and that people must therefore take a higher degree of responsibility for their health, Arthur agreed but said that some infrastructure remains essential.
He gave the example of the 2008 initiative to lower maternal mortality rates, which he said consisted of family planning services, more deliveries by skilled specialists, and emergency obstetric and infant care.
He explained that while the first facet of the plan requires people to modify their own sexual behavior, the plan would not work unless the government administered the latter two provisions.