Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Titus Beyuo

Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Titus Beyuo has asked government to prioritise investment in healthcare systems when making budgetary allocations to the sector.

He said investment in modern technology will go a long way in improving healthcare service delivery and guarantee a robust healthcare delivery system in the country.

Dr. Beyuo made the call during discussions on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, June 1, with regard to challenges facing the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital’s (CCTH) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The discussions follow the outcome of a study by Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng which revealed that one in three babies sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital dies. Hospital officials blame the situation on limited space and lack of critical equipment.

Dr Beyuo described the situation as worrying, “that there are highly skilled professionals dedicated and willing to save the lives of the children but unable to because of systemic challenges, is problematic.”

He blamed part of the outcome on a lack of capital investment for proper maintenance works to be carried out on tools, equipment, and facilities.

He noted that governments over the years have explored short term solutions in addressing the challenges.

“Majority of the budget is allocated to wages and compensation and very little is left for the capital investment,” which in his view is not helping.

“It looks like there’s no consistent effort or plan to resource and retool our healthcare sector and prioritsation is also problematic. A lot of the time, our solutions to addressing these challenges are ad hoc solutions and quick fixes. If you look at the budget for the healthcare sector each year and actual expenditure and you look at what percentage goes into maintaining the system, you realise that it’s so insignificant.

“But if we do not maintain the equipment and facilities, we can have highly skilled workers but they are not armed enough to work to generate the results,” he said.

Going forward, Dr Beyuo has urged government to explore ways to decentralise healthcare in the country.

“We could decide that based on the human resource capacity that we have, for every region we are going to maintain a minimum standard of healthcare equipment.”

He believes that “if each regional hospital has enough capacity, the pressure at the teaching hospitals will be low and the teaching hospital will focus on what it’s doing.”