There is a saying the ‘a healthy nation is a wealthy nation’.

In the 2016 manifesto of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), they state that Ghana’s life expectancy at birth has increased from 60 years in 2008 to 63 years by 2013.

Like every other sector in the manifesto, the NDC mentions as many achievements as possible. They mention what they have fulfilled from the 2012 manifesto and also other things that were not in their previous manifesto but have been accomplished.

Some achievements by the NDC from 2013 to date

• Established the National Ambulance Service Training School.

• Expansion of 400-bed Tamale Teaching Hospital to an 800-bed facility.

• Construction of 617-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital.

• Construction of new modern Emergency Department for the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

• Completion of the Eye Care Centre at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

• Renovation and expansion of 104-bed Police Hospital in Accra.

• Construction of 130-bed Maritime Hospital in Tema.

• Upgrading and expansion of Greater Accra Regional Hospital at Ridge in Accra to 620-bed capacity.

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• Design, construction and equipping of six 120-bed District Hospitals with an integrated IT system at Dodowa, Fomena, Abetifi, Garu- Tempane, Kumawu and Sekondi.

• Construction of five (5) Polyclinics each in the Upper West, Northern, Western and Brong Ahafo Regions.

• Reduced annual AIDS deaths by 43%.

• Achieved over 50% reduction in transmission of HIV from mother-to-child.

NDC’s commitment from 2017-2021

If NDC wins the 2016 general elections they intend to:

Diversify the sources of funding for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). This is one of the few things in the NDC’s manifesto that they indicate a possible source of funding. The manifesto states that they will do this “by allocating an approved percentage of the ABFA from our Petroleum Revenue.”

They also intend to reduce the incidence of malaria and cases of maternal and neonatal deaths by 50% each. In the 2012 manifesto even though they stated that they would reduce malaria cases and maternal and neonatal deaths no percentage was attached to enable monitoring but the 2016 manifesto with a target will make monitoring easier.

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The NDC again has the plan to complete on-going Regional Hospitals in Ashanti, Upper West, Upper East, Eastern and Western regions. The Tema General Hospital would also see a massive upgrade. They would also construct 20 polyclinics in Ashanti, Eastern, Volta and Upper East regions.

In 2012 even though the NDC manifesto mentioned mental health, there was no specific plan for mental health care. In this year’s manifesto, the NDC promises to “mainstream mental healthcare into the health delivery system and ensure adequate resourcing and infrastructural development.”

Just as they said in 2012 the NDC promises to prioritise mental health care “by working with local and international partners to galvanise support for the attainment of the objectives that will drastically improve mental health care in Ghana.”

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They promise to move the Accra Psychiatric Hospital to Pantang and develop the Pantang Mental Hospital into a first-class mental health facility and also build two additional psychiatric hospitals in Ashanti and the Northern Regions.

An NDC government from 2017-2021 will ensure a better partnership exists between the government and local pharmaceutical companies “to make them more efficient, reliable and competitive both locally and internationally.”

Under the governance of NDC, they would establish a permanent body to review the Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia on a regular basis to “strengthen regulatory mechanisms to ensure safe, efficacious and efficient administration of herbal medicine.”

Health facilities located by some major highways in the country will be upgraded to Accident and Trauma Centres. Some of these include Sogakope, Anomabo, Half-Assini, Nkawkaw, Kintampo, Techiman, Wa, Hohoe, Gambia No. 2 and Buipe. After the upgrade of these facilities, more doctors will be trained in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) to help in the specialised handling of accident and trauma victims.

Physical Education (PE) would be encouraged in schools to ensure children live a healthy life. In communities, residents would be encouraged to form PE groups which will see to it that Ghanaians live a healthier life.

In the health sector, the NDC manifesto was silent on immunisation, geriatrics (even though the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has championed this over the years), the allowances and benefits of health workers, and a mechanism to employ the unemployed health workers.