The Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), has begun a nationwide medical screening for students in the Senior High Schools (SHSs).
First-year students enrolled under the Free SHS policy have started undergoing medical examinations and their medical records would be kept and allocated to the various health facilities near them.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the GES, made this known to the media on Monday, January 15, 2018, during a routine inspection of some health facilities in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and Dade-Kotopon Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
He said all the second cycle educational institutions are supposed to have functional sick bays to take care of the health needs of students.
“Every secondary school boarding house should have a functional sickbay, which would be a connection between us and the school.
“We will use the sick bay as a point of call whenever any student is sick and even allow the health facility looking after the school to deploy a nurse there,” he said.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the GES would take full control of school health and would not wait till an epidemic breaks out or students fall sick before providing health services.
He said the GES would take students through physical education, healthy lifestyles and nutrition, as well as health education and general environmental sanitation issues at the schools.
The Director-General of the GES said the government was re-structuring of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in order to improve health service delivery.
He said the government has settled some of the arrears of the NHIS and expressed optimism that, it would complete paying the outstanding arrears by the end of the year.
“Health is our main business and so the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) ultimate aim is to run health facilities and ensure that the public receives quality healthcare,” he said.
He said the MOH and its agencies like the GES and the teaching hospitals were undertaking a lot of innovations and initiating changes that would enhance administrative efficiency and ensure quality healthcare and customer service delivery.
Dr Ebenezer Oduro-Mensah, the Medical Superintendent of the La General Hospital, said in 2017, the facility received a lot of support from the government in terms of deployment of health personnel, which improved the general service delivery.
He said the facility has started putting measures in place to renovate some of its structures, adding that, it had secured some space to install new beds to accommodate more patients.
Dr Oduro-Mensah said: “We’re hoping that government alongside other companies and philanthropists would donate needed equipment to improve the care of patients”.
He said the hospital, which started as a polyclinic, needed expansion since it was the only health facility in the municipality.
On challenges, he said, the facility was still grappling with unacceptable staff attitudes, funding and NHIS outstanding debts.
However, he said, it was determined to consolidate the gains made last year in order to make healthcare better.
Touching on plans to roll out innovative policies to increase its internally-generated funds, he said, the facility was considering putting up a ward that would cater for patients who may request for “VIP Treatment”, instead of general services.
He said it would also consider entering into public-private partnerships with some major laboratories so that, services which the hospital could not provide would be given to them and vice versa.
“We can also offer health screening to other corporate organisations at a cost, but whatever we do, we don’t want to burden our clients and avoid charging them illegally for services we render to them,” he said.