Mr Bright Simons, President of Mpedigree, has said waste, corruption and fraud are threatening to collapse Ghana’s healthcare system.
He said large amounts of waste, fraud, corruption, diversion of resources and accounting irregularities were regularly identified, leading to an estimated $500million being lost in the health sector per annum.
Mr Simons was speaking at a roundtable organised by the World Bank and King Baudouim Foundation in partnership with Mpedigree in Accra.
The roundtable brought together key individuals and organisations in the health, media and policy ecosystem to deliberate and brainstorm on themes such as counterfeiting, supply-chain transparency, sustainability of health insurance, new technology to address fraud and over-utilisation.
It was also to deliberate on facility under subscription and oversubscription, vaccine cold chain integrity and patient feedback loops.
Mr Simons said counterfeit and substandard medicines also lead to huge losses as resources were spent on useless medicines, which could form as much as 48 per cent of total operational budgets of key agencies like the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“If counterfeits and other forms of fraud are accounted for, it can be argued that more than half of Ghana’s health spending is being wasted,” he said.
Despite a budget of $1.2 billion on average in recent years, much higher in percentage of GDP terms when compared to all other countries in West Africa, outcomes are declining.
Mr Simons said the recent problems at the Central Medical Stores, where an estimated $100 million were lost due to arson and the diversion of public resources by officials of the National Malaria Control Programme, all showed that “just throwing more money at the problem” would not solve it.
Mr Simons said what was required were innovations in efficiencies, accountability, anti-counterfeiting, anti-fraud and anti-corruption to address some of these challenges.
“Technologies like MPedigree Goldkeys present a powerful opportunity to address many of these issues but it would require all stakeholders working in harmony for the use of such technologies to be successful,” he added.
Mr Benjamin Kwame Botwe, Ag. Rector- Ghana College of Pharmacist, said the health sector needed reforms in its core areas of operation to improve on quality service delivery to patients, adding that value-chain in the sector has to be structured to meet more demands.
He said the idea by government to procure drones for the health sector needed to be lauded, saying the sector had to adopt technological changes to provide quality health service to its citizenry.
He said the Pharmacy Council would introduce a model pharmacy concept targeting the underserved in communities.
He said this would enable officials to track and monitor for records of all pharmaceutical products introduced into the system for consumers to be taken.
Dr Lydia Dsane Selby, Deputy Director in Charge of Operations, National Health Insurance Authority, said going forward the Authority would prosecute their own cases in court, adding that they have been given the permission by the Attorney General.
“Our lawyers are currently been trained to take up the cases and continue with the prosecution,” she said.
The management of Citifm and Citi Television led by Mr Kojo Akoto Boateng, Head of Research, used the forum to launch their campaign on waste in the health sector to track and monitor government infrastructure development in the sector.