In recent days, the media in Ghana have been abuzz with news about the government’s decision to scale up the capitation system as another method for paying health care providers under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The Upper West, East and Volta regions of the country are included in the second phase of the capitation scale-up, which was piloted in the Ashanti Region, where the majority of affiliates and providers are reported to have expressed satisfaction with this system.
Two days before the world observes International School Meals Day, I’m here sitting in the U.K. Houses of Parliament thinking about the unexpected evolution of school meals programs in recent years.
Photo courtesty Creative Commons
For those of us who have been impacted by the death of loved ones due to the negative health consequences of smoking, the recent announcement by Larry Merlo, the CEO of the U.S. pharmacy chain CVS, to stop selling tobacco products in the chain’s 7,600 stores, was a ray of hope and a step toward a future when public health concerns trump short-term profit motives.
Countries working to provide quality health care often face bottlenecks in keeping remote health clinics stocked with essential medicines. This isn’t necessarily because they can’t afford sufficient drugs and supplies. Delivery may be stymied by bad roads and poor communications systems. Or the distribution process may have been established for a centralized system and can no longer keep pace with the growth in clinics in faraway settlements.
“In this clinic we are accommodated well and treated respectfully… We have the opportunity to converse with the health worker, describing the illness, and when we are mistaken or do not understand, we are not threatened. They help us locate the pain and they explain everything about the disease and how to treat it. They encourage us to speak and they try to give us confidence.” –Patient in Burkina Faso
On this year’s World AIDS Day – 1 December 2013 –the world commemorates remarkable scientific progress against AIDS and the translation of this progress into saving lives: In the last decade, new HIV infections, AIDS deaths and TB-related deaths among people with AIDS have declined by one- third.
As a newcomer in my new post in Accra, I am starting to learn about Ghana’s achievements and challenges. I have been impressed with some innovative policies and measures adopted to address difficult development challenges in the social sectors.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are becoming a significant burden in sub-Saharan Africa, and road traffic injuries are rapidly emerging as a major cause of death and disability. By 2010, cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) and road injuries were already within the top 15 causes of years of life lost, joined by ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertensive heart disease in Southern sub-Saharan Africa. Road traffic injuries are expected to be the number one killer of children aged 5-15 in Africa by 2015 if current trends continue unabated. Yet, this burden remains largely hidden.
This past week, I attended a couple of interesting seminars at the World Bank’s Human Development Forum on how some mineral-rich countries have been able to translate their newfound riches into sustained economic growth, improved living conditions, and better nutrition, health and education levels for their populations.