The health system in Ghana will take delivery of 275 ambulances in June this year to make treatment of emergency cases more efficient and effective.
Drone technology has also been introduced into the health system to make timely and rapid delivery of essential medicine, blood and blood products to remote communities.
Announcing this in his third State of the Nation Address to Parliament in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is now buoyant. The government had paid up the GH¢1.2 billion arrears it inherited and brought the operations of the NHIS back to life.
The event was attended by dignitaries, including two former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings, and John Dramani Mahama.
President Akufo-Addo said, on December 19, 2018, the introduction of mobile renewal of membership was launched. Since then, there has been, on average 70,000 members, renewing their membership every week, by dialing *929# on any mobile phone network.
In collaboration with the National Identification Authority, soon Ghanaians would be able to register, renew and access health care services using the Ghana Card. Despite the many interventions, President Akufo-Addo said the health sector still faces inadequate infrastructure -- numerous structures at various stages of completion.
"...and there is no money to finish the ones started earlier," yet new once are started. This has been a long-standing problem that had marked the country's underdevelopment. We will not ignore or sweep the problem under the carpet. We are dealing with it and will complete them," the President stated.
To deliver healthcare to Ghanaians more efficiently, President Akufo-Addo said, in 2018, the government granted financial clearance for the recruitment of 11,018 health personnel to increase existing clinical staff.
Additionally, in September 2018, the Ministry of Health received further financial clearance for 14,254 Nurse Assistants (Clinical and Preventive).
These nurse assistants belong to the tranche that passed their exams in 2016 from Government Health Training Institutions and had commenced work by 1st February 2019. He said the Ministry of Health is working to obtain financial clearance for the recruitment of the 2017 and 2018 graduates.
"Ghana's hardworking nurses and doctors would do their best, as they have always done, to make sure we get the best health care, but it behooves on each one of us to look after ourselves better," he stated.
The President urged Ghanaians to exercise regularly, and take regular health check-ups seriously, adding "it is imperative that we eat healthy diets to prevent diseases that are caused by poor choices of nutrition."
In order to partly deal with the acute shortage of user-friendly, decent housing for people in middle and low-income brackets, President Akufo-Addo said a consortium of local banks had raised 51 million dollars to fund the completion of the social housing units started in 2006 at Koforidua and Tamale.
The Saglemi Housing Project started under the last NDC government, the President stated is, also, high on the government's list of priorities this year.
"The 5,000 units it offers would boost our housing numbers. We are, therefore, establishing the value for money issues surrounding the project in order to reconcile the number of houses built with the schedule of payments made, and accelerate delivery."
The long-standing problem that gets worse, each passing day, the President indicated, would be tackle earnestly to find a resolution. "We are starting with the completion of the many abandoned projects dotted around the country," he stated.
Additionally, the 2019 budget had made provision for the construction of 200,000 housing units, and a database of local and foreign developers had been created to help make this policy a reality.
According to President Akufo-Addo, land banks have also been secured in several towns across Ghana where factories, producing pre-fabricated building materials, could be sited for this huge construction effort.
The government will continue with the other housing projects for the police, armed forces, and government workers across the country, through agencies like the State Housing Corporation.
Perhaps, the most exciting news on the housing landscape, the President hinted, though, at the draft stage, is the regeneration of Nima, a suburb in Accra, which holds the dubious title of being Accra's first slum.
"I am extremely excited that the regeneration plans will not dislodge or dispossess residents, but would rather transform Nima into a well-laid out residential area with full amenities. I am looking forward to it, good work that is being done by the Ministries of Inner City and Zongo Development and Works and Housing."
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)