In line with government’s digitalisation agenda, the plan would institutionalise an integrated information system within the sector,as basis for achieving national and global health indicators for better health outcomes.
The sector Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, made this known at the opening of a three-day health summit on the theme; “Strengthening Ghana’s Health Information System for tracking Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
The annual meeting organised by the Ministry brings together stakeholders within the health sector to track progress made and its performance in the previous year to inform decision-making moving forward.
Mr Agyeman-Manu describing sector’s performance last year as “mixed” in terms of service indicators, said a robust health information system in place was crucial to improve accountability and ensure “evidence-based decision-making.”
He said the sector recorded an increase in institutional maternal mortality from 109.2 per 100,000 live births in 2020 to 119.5 last year, with maternal deaths increasing to 875 from 107.
Institutional neonatal mortality per 1,000 live births increased from 7.4 in 2020 to 7.6 in 2021 with under-five mortality increasing to 10.7 last year from 9.8 live births in 2020.
The Minister indicated that while screening of HIV exposed infants stagnated last year, outpatient cases of hypertension, diabetes and sickle cell disease all increased compared to 2020.
Nonetheless, he said family planning acceptor rate improved last year with the sector achieving 100 percent coverage of all immunization schedules.
Mr Agyeman-Manu pointing out improvement in infrastructural and equipment supply for the sector in the review year, also noted progress in operations and service coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which currently has a little over half of the population enrolled unto it.
In order to achieve UHC, the Minister noted the potential of e-health to improve access and quality of care, expand coverage, minimise cost of accessing healthcare, enable connectivity in healthcare systems and build healthcare capacity.
He thus expressed government’s commitment to shaping the present health information architecture to respond adequately to addressing inefficiencies that may hinder the attaining of the country’s UHC goals.
The Presidential Coordinator of Ghana’s COVID-19 Response, DrAnarfiAsamoa-Baahsaid the country was just eight years away from attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UHC as such, was important that efforts are stepped up to improve quality of life for citizens.
He urged the stakeholders in the health sector to work closely with each other to tackle health systems challenges “resulting in inequitable access to high-quality comprehensive healthcare as well as high out-of-pocket payments.”
For his part, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Dr Nana AyewAfriyie noted the difficulty in accessing health information for decision making right from the primary level of care to the tertiary level.
“As a committee, our job heavily relies on data and other reports which at times delay because either data is not readily available or not there at all in some cases,” he stated.
Dr Afriyie implored the Ministry to leverage on existing health data systems like the District Health Management Information System (DHIMS) to “come up with a superior data system for our health sector.”