David Leo-Nkoah, CEO of Adage Health Advocacy.

If I am not exaggerating, not a month goes by in our country without our news outlets and social media being inundated with stories about “negligent” healthcare workers or seemingly preventable unfortunate outcomes.

Countless people have asked this burning question; can this be remedied? And if so, how do we do this? In this political season, our airwaves will undoubtedly be filled with political talk including various party agendas, promises, and of course catchy party songs. With these going on, I ask myself, is anyone thinking of the betterment of our healthcare system? I mean actually putting step-by-step, doable or achievable plans and policies in place that will help reduce or prevent these unfortunate incidents and hold people/institutions accountable for their actions? I believe this is achievable if we can draft and implement health policies for our health institutions. Here are my thoughts:

A policy on healthcare should be taken after a careful assessment of the needs of the people. It should start by soliciting feedback from stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, insurers, employers, and government agencies. The feedback will help to identify challenges, opportunities, and areas for improvement. The question every political party should ask before drafting a healthcare policy in their manifestos is, what does the general populace think about healthcare delivery in the nation? What is the general concern to patients and how do they want those issues addressed?

As we navigate through the intricate landscape of public policy, it's imperative to prioritize the enhancement of healthcare quality as a fundamental aspect of our collective well-being. The quality of healthcare services directly impacts the lives of every individual within our society and serves as a measure of our nation's commitment to the welfare of its citizens. It therefore goes without saying that political parties should recognize the urgency of this matter and take proactive measures towards ensuring the provision of high-quality healthcare for all.

The quality of healthcare encompasses various dimensions, including accessibility, affordability, effectiveness, safety, and patient-centeredness. Each of these facets is crucial in determining the overall standard of care received by individuals across the socioeconomic spectrum. It is however evident that disparities exist within our current healthcare system thus hindering equitable access to quality services for many segments of the population. Political platforms may address this by the following to improve the quality of healthcare nationwide and for all:

Investment in Healthcare Infrastructure: Allocate resources towards the improvement of healthcare infrastructure, including the construction and renovation of healthcare facilities, expansion of medical education programs, and deployment of advanced medical technologies.

A robust healthcare infrastructure is essential for delivering timely and effective care to patients. Many government-owned facilities are in dire need of repairs and it is imperative that the government and other stakeholders pay closer attention to this. In light of peoples’ grievances as discussed above, voters should ask themselves, which political party has my health at heart? And who has concrete plans to address them? These are what people should take into account before casting their vote.

Patient Empowerment and Engagement: This is another paramount piece in building a robust healthcare policy, and can be achieved by promoting initiatives that empower patients to actively participate in their healthcare decisions and engage with healthcare providers as partners in care. Measures may include promoting health literacy, providing access to medical information and resources, and fostering shared decision-making between patients and providers. Additionally, patients/families should be made aware of their rights and responsibilities to foster respect between the patient and the healthcare team.

Quality Metrics and Accountability: After taking the above steps/measures, facilities/systems will now have to assess their effectiveness. How can this be done? By developing standardized metrics to assess and monitor the quality of healthcare services provided by hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions either through Ghana Health Services or an independent health quality improvement institution. These metrics should encompass clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, adherence to best practices, and safety measures.

By conducting assessments and audits, they help prevent medical errors and adverse events. Again, health quality institutions encourage a culture of continuous improvement within healthcare organizations. Through feedback, evaluation, and recommendations, they help healthcare providers identify areas for improvement and implement changes to enhance the overall quality of care.

As mentioned above, health quality improvement may be overseen by either a government or private institution, but in my humble opinion, having an independent body overseeing healthcare quality fosters public trust as they will be seen as unbiased. Thus, without influence from any governmental agency, patients are more likely to have confidence in the care they receive.

To cement and ensure the success of the aforementioned, establishing mechanisms that hold healthcare providers accountable for maintaining high-quality standards is germane. This is because knowing and seeing the repercussions of healthcare workers’ actions or inactions as is commonly heard in the news, may serve as a deterrent to others. With this, we should see an overall better quality of healthcare delivery.

Healthcare Workforce Development: Without the workforce/manpower, all the measures discussed above will be in a vacuum. No effort should therefore be spared in investing in the recruitment, training, and retention of healthcare professionals; including physicians, nurses, allied health workers, and support staff. By ensuring adequate numbers of well-trained workforce, we can enhance the delivery of healthcare services and improve patient outcomes.

All the above is to say that as we support our individual political parties, argue with opponents, poke fun at each other and enjoy political songs and rallies in this election year, the recurring issue of poor-quality health care should not be forgotten. Let us ensure that those we elect into power are fighting for the improved health of the nation.


The author, David Leo-Nkoah is CEO of Adage Health Advocacy.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.