Mr Speaker, I rise to also speak to the Motion that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, 2017, which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 21st
Mr Speaker, I would want to first make reference to a statement made by the President on page 11 and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“Mr Speaker, we have to be healthy if we are to make a success of the plans and aspirations we have. The National Health Insurance Scheme remains the best option we have devised to ensure that as many people as possible have access to health care in our clinics and hospitals. The scheme is not in a
good state, and there are too many providers that are owed money. They are threatening to opt out and stop offering their services to the most vulnerable in our society. We shall restore the National Health Insurance Scheme to good health”.
Mr Speaker, I would want to start from here. The interesting thing is that the President, in giving his 2017 State of the Nation Address, failed to acknowledge that he is inheriting a health delivery system that is far better than the one that his team left in 2008.
Mr Speaker, the use of words like ‘revamp' and ‘restore' are all diversionary because, on the campaign platform, he was heard severally saying that, it is collapsed. He is now transmogrifying his words gradually by saying ‘revamp' and ‘restore'.
Mr Speaker, if you take the definition of revamp, it means to reconstruct and rebuild, which also means something has collapsed, and you are reconstructing or rebuilding it. If you take the definition of ‘restore', among other things, it talks about renovation and rehabilitation; meaning that the health delivery system and National Health Insurance, in particular is in a “comatose” as my Hon Friend used the word yesterday.
Mr Speaker, let me give some statistics to guide all of us to know where we are coming from, where we are and where we hope to be.
If you take the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2014, clearly, it shows that child mortality in our country has improved tremendously from the year 2008. Whereas in the year 2008, it was 31, today, it is 19.
Mr Speaker, children under age 5 in the year 2008, were dying at 80 per 1,000 children. Today, it is 60 per 1,000 children. If you take antenatal care, that is women who are pregnant and have access to supervised midwifery care, it used to be 96 deaths per 1,000 births .in the year 2008, today, it is 97.
With skilled attendance; that is when a pregnant woman has skilled persons to assist her in delivery, in the year 2008, we could do only 59 per cent, today, we are doing 75 per cent.
Mr Speaker, if you look at institutional maternal mortality; in the year 2008, 350 women were dying for every 100,000, today, we are at 143. These are tremendous improvements.
I know that it is not good for any woman who is trying to give life to die, but as Dr Kwame Nkrumah said, ‘success is not determined by where you are, it is determined by how far you have come'. If in the year 2008, when His Excellency President Kufuor and his team were leaving Government, 350 were dying and today, we have 143, definitely, that is a huge improvement and we must acknowledge that before we try to add on.
Mr Speaker, if you take cases of poliomyelitis, today, we are poliomyelitis- free. Yesterday, one of my Hon Colleagues talked about immunisation and its challenges. We cannot have a zero poliomyelitis -- in the country when the immunisation regime is weak and there are so many experts in this Chamber and they would tell you that it is because of the efficient immunisation system that we have, that is why we are poliomyelitis-free.
Mr Speaker, if you take the years 2006 to 2008 Budgets, one of the major challenges of the then Government was
how to deal with guinea worm. Since the year 2010 till date, we have zero guinea worm cases. This is because, it has been properly dealt with.
If we take the incidence of tuberculosis, today, we have done so well that we are able to cure almost 86 per cent of all tuberculosis cases in our country.
Mr Speaker, a look at the incidence of measles, since the year 2008; today, we have zeroed it. If we look at stillbirth, the rate has drastically reduced since the year 2008. When we talk of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and I quote the Ghana Health Service (GHS), it is on their website; as at today, 83 per cent of our citizens access health only through the NHIS.
One cannot say the NHIS has collapsed when 83 per cent of the citizens continue to access health through the NHIS. Only 83 per cent --[Interruption]- - only 17 per cent of our population are accessing health through other means other than through the NHIS