As part of activities on its C-TAP project, BudgIT Ghana held a town hall meeting on the theme “BOOSTING HEALTHCARE ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN GHANA,” at De Kings Hotel in Tarkwa, on the 14th of June 2022. The aim of this meeting was to assess how citizens coped during and after Covid, and how they can enhance advocacy levels to demand better accountability and transparency in the health sector.
Lead Researcher at BudgIT Ghana, Mr. Khiddir Iddris, in his welcome address, spoke briefly about the achievements of the C-TAP initiative since its inception a year ago, and also highlighted the importance of converging traditional leaders, experts from the government, civil society and media partners in meetings like this that seek to explore healthcare accountability systems in Ghana.
Mr. Felix Ankrah, Program Coordinator at Economic Governance Platform, during his keynote address, also emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability in the health sector, while making reference to the pandemic in connection with this.
“Covid-19 exposed everybody’s healthcare systems. Even the United States with advanced technology and development faced challenges. A resilient healthcare system is the ability of healthcare systems not only to plan for shocks, such as pandemics, economic crises or the effects of climate change, but also to minimize the negative consequences of such disruptions, recover as quickly as possible, and adapt by learning lessons from the experience to become even better performing and more prepared.”
In his presentation, Mr. Felix posited what he referred to as the Four A’s of healthcare; being Accessibility, Availability, Affordability and Accountability.
“At the end of the day, we’re looking for a high life expectancy. When we look at the global average, the world’s life expectancy lies at seventy-four years. But for Ghana, our life expectancy was sixty-four years as of 2019.”
He went on to explain how health and education are key variables for economic growth, and how an educated and healthy society will always lead to economic development, and by extension, a high life expectancy.
Following Mr. Ankrah’s presentation, there was an open discussion between attendees and experts from the government. These discussions were generally centered around topics including the role of traditional leaders in healthcare accountability, issues concerning the proper utilization of public resources within the health sector, vaccine hesitancy and distribution within Tarkwa and also how health officials are mandated by the constitution to account for their stewardship and the management of public resources entrusted into their care by the people.
Along the discussions Mr Evans from the Ghana Health Service shared some key knowledge about some of the challenges faced in Tarkwa during and after the pandemic.
“In the last couple of years the number of Covid cases have fluctuated up and down. But as we speak now cases are at an ultimate low. Our only problem now is vaccine hesitancy. We should keep advocating for everyone to take the vaccines and clear any doubt about it.”
He took the liberty to speak about the benefits if a majority of the population were to take the vaccine, and how this is the way to achieve herd immunity against the virus.
The Town Hall Meeting was well-attended by key stakeholders, including government officials, academics, representatives of civil society organizations, the business community, and the media.