The President of the West African College of Surgeons, Prof Peter Donkor has challenged the government to work towards dedicating fifteen (15) percent of Gross Domestic Product to the health sector, in line with the Abuja Declaration.
He believes this will make the health system robust and will be able to adequately respond during health emergencies.
Following the emergence of COVID-19, which has ravaged the world and has forced governments to make investments in the health sector, Prof. Peter Donkor wants Ghana and other African countries to put adequate measures in place that will stand the test of time.
Speaking at a two-day KNUST 9th Biennial Scientific Conference on the theme; Covid-19; a health challenge for the decade, the role of health professionals, he urged West African governments to spread out investments in the health sector beyond COVID-19.
“Ghana is a signatory to the Abuja Declaration where we have declared that fifteen percent of our GDP would be devoted to health, and I do not think any West African country has achieved that. The question I ask is that, since covid, we’ve seen a lot of health expenditure, but where are we? Have we increased from the 5% to say 10%? Are we closer to the 15% GDP? Is the investment in health spread out beyond the Covid? What is happening with the conditions that we were faced with before covid? Are we neglecting them? These are some of the challenges we must address as health professionals. It is our concern and our responsibility to provide the needed leadership in health by working with all concerned and always focusing on what is necessary to assure our wellbeing. Covid has given us one opportunity; the opportunity to innovate and to think differently about how we go about things. Technology has been exploited in many ways to address our needs.”
He also called for the need for Ghana and other West African countries to re-evaluate health priorities.
“We need to re-evaluate our health priorities all over. Even the high-income countries, their health systems were not able to prevent covid from ravaging their population. So we need to rethink, what should we do? Must we mimic what they are doing? Or must we rethink and innovate and do things differently? This also brings to mind the need to focus on surveillance and rapid response. We need to have a responsive workforce that is ever ready in adequate numbers to tackle future epidemics.”