The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called for a multi-sectoral approach towards addressing the policy inconsistencies in the access and delivery of health services and technologies.
It said improving access to total healthcare services would be crucial if Ghana was to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the Goal 3, of ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all, but particularly for the most vulnerable.
It would also require that policy interventions were coherent and implemented in an integrated manner.
Ms Gita Welch, the Interim UNDP Country Director, who made the call at the opening of a two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue on Policy Coherence for health technology access and delivery in Accra, said this was urgent because access to healthcare often went beyond the remit of the health sector.
She said it involved the active engagement of non-health partners such as trade, justice, science and technology, as well as finance.
It seeks to ensure that national public goals that sought to guarantee accessibility and affordability of essential medicines were complemented by a regulatory system and procurement regulations that supported goals such as trade, industrial and intellectual property policies that did not hinder access to affordable medicines, and other health technologies.
The dialogue therefore provided an opportunity for the key stakeholder institutions to discuss new developments and identify ways to enhance coherence, not just between various sectors at the national level, but also examine how policies at these levels could be better aligned with continental and sub-regional frameworks, to advance priorities for access and delivery of health technologies.
Ms Welch said the consultation would also provide the platform to explore how implementation of research could be utilised to address challenges experienced with the operation of these national and continental frameworks.
She said Ghana could be a shining example to others in the Sub-region, should the country lead in the attainment of the SDGs, particularly those on health.
She however noted that since access and delivery of health technologies depended on their availability and affordability, as well as the existence of the infrastructure for their effective transfer, there was the need to develop mechanisms to address bottlenecks and challenges that could arise with the introduction of life saving interventions and policies.
Interventions such as strengthening capacities to conduct implementation research and institutionalisation, should be adopted to ensure that the challenges were quickly investigated and resolved to optimise access and delivery of these technologies.