Christabel Addo, GNA
Accra, Oct.04, GNA - Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, on Friday inaugurated the National Steering Committee and a Technical Working Group to facilitate effective implementation of the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) to inform decisions on cost-effectiveness.
He said Ghana had positioned herself to institutionalise the HTA as part of the policy processes to achieve Universal Health Coverage as it impacted key decisions such as selection, reimbursement, pricing and procurement.
He described the HTA as an evidence-based process that sought to examine the consequences of using a particular health technology or intervention by considering the real impact from the social, medical, economic and ethnic perspectives.
“A health technology, therefore, involved the application of organised knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve the quality of lives,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the 15-member National Steering Committee, with representatives from both the public and private sectors and development partners, would set the HTA agenda, and provide the overall governance for the process.
The National Technical Committee, on the other hand, worked to develop the HTA for the country.
He also commissioned a dedicated Secretariat for the HTA to be housed at the Ministry of Health to support the implementation of its recommendations as captured in Ghana’s National Medicines Policy.
The Health Minister said the success of the initiative hinged on the ability of the country to leverage strategic collaboration and partnerships and ensure sustained political will to promote health outcomes using evidence.
He urged the media to seek further education on the process to be able to clearly articulate the issues in their reportage.
Mr Hamidu Adakurugu, the Director of Administration, Ministry of Health (MOH), explained that healthcare decisions were often taken to produce outcomes within resource-constrained settings, and that the initiative brought together various stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to enable the country achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“There is the need to achieve value-for-money in our healthcare delivery system while taking into account the peculiar needs and preferences of our patients.”
He mentioned the establishment of a transparent and systematic process to which stakeholders could contribute and in which all evidence was judged fairly based on robust analysis.
Mr Adakurugu said patients certainly did not have a stake in how health technology would impact their lives but the impact, if properly documented and scientifically analysed using HTA, could result in better health outcomes.
He said the MOH was currently piloting the use of HTA to inform decisions on prioritisation of cost-containment and sustainability strategies of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
He said HTA was being applied to the selection of medicines in the National Essential Medicines List, and the development of Standard Treatment Guidelines for recommended therapies such as hypertension, which was a major chronic condition.
It has also been identified as a cost-driver under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Dr Lydia Dsane-Selby, the Chief Executive Officer, NHIA, welcomed the adoption of the HTA as an effective tool to ensuring long-term financial sustainability for the Scheme, with the use of scientific evidence to make decisions to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
She called for stakeholder support in the mobilisation of domestic funding for healthcare.
Mrs Joycelyn Azeez, the Chief Programme Officer, Pharmacy Directorate, MOH, outlined the strategic partnerships for the implementation of the HTA as; Governance, Guidelines and Manuals; Resourcing and tooling; Funding and resource mobilization,
The rest are collaborations and partnerships; Communication and dissemination; systematic topic selection and agenda setting; tailored capacity building, and Follow ups through actions.
Dr Owen Laws Kaluwa, the WHO Country Representative, commended Ghana for the initiative but called for the enhanced mobilization of domestic funding to sustain healthcare financing.