The Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) has called for intensive education on the content of the Patients Charter and the National Health Insurance Policy documents to make it easier for citizens to assert their rights.
The ARHR said the current state of affairs left citizens vulnerable to some unscrupulous elements within the health delivery system who only sought to make profit from clients due to deficit in information.
It said sections of the public still had questions to as to the extent to which the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) provided coverage and remedies available to them when they were unable to bear the cost of renewal.
These recommendations were made by the ARHR after it had conducted a participatory monitoring activity by using the recently developed Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) framework to track the progress of integration, implementation and impact of GESI actions in Universal Health Care.
The project districts were Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Aberem (KEEA) Municipal Area, Agona East and South Dayi.
The assessment focused on Citizens experiences of Community Health Preventive Services (CHPS Concepts), ascertained the extent to which marginalised groups were receiving quality primary health care as well as patients’ satisfaction after accessing health care and services.
ARHR has already held validation workshops and interface meetings with health service providers in the three districts.
At a day’s capacity building for media personnel in Accra to disseminate the findings of the study, Mr Kekeli Tsikata, a Consultant of ARHR, said during the study, people lamented the frequency of referrals, particularly among the aged, as some of those referrals led to near fatalities.
Additionally, Mr Tsikata noted that there were difficulties in obtaining transportation to district health centres and people were compelled to walk long distances to receive health care.
“Cost of healthcare remain remarkably high given that many of the respondents indicated that they had to pay for medicines and additional fees,” he stated.
On satisfaction of services, Mr Tsikata said most of the respondents indicated that: “There was a fair amount of privacy and consultation were kept confidential.”
He, however, said promptness of care in some cases sometimes left patients waiting for long periods when health personnel were late to work.
Mr Tsikata stressed the need for the Ghana Health Service to increase staff strength, particularly at CHPS compounds, as well as ensure that community health workers are punctual.
He said healthcare facilities should also be equipped with essential items to enhance primary care.
“All health facilities should have ramps, which are appropriately inclined so that pregnant women, People with Disability, the aged and infirm can enter these health centres with ease.”
Mr Tsikata called on the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to empower its officers to visit and conduct special registration exercises for Persons with Disability and the vulnerable in remote communities in the country.
He called on the Authority to provide reimbursement for family planning services and services provided by physician assistants and midwives at all levels of health delivery.
Joyce Ami Amedoe, the Programmes Development Manager ARHR, appealed to people to be abreast of the Patients Charter and the National Health Insurance Policy documents to know their rights and responsibilities in terms of healthcare delivery.