Universal Health Coverage (UHC), according to the World Health Organization (WHO) means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
UHC enables everyone to access the services that address the most significant causes of diseases and death, and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the Health of the people who receive them. Achieving UHC is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
To achieve this target, there is the need for a conscious effort to protect people from the financial consequences of out-of-pocket payment for healthcare. It also requires strengthening existing health infrastructure as well as ensuring accessibility to healthcare.
In line with SDGs 3 and 6 which are Good Health and Well-being and Clean Water and
Sanitation respectively, the new member of parliament for Madina constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Honourable Francis-Xavier Sosu has decided to do something unprecedented in the Madina constituency.
It is called the Health Project.
The Health Project is just one of the various projects the Honourable member of parliament has set up to bring development to the people of Madina constituency. The other projects include Education, Job creation, Sports amongst others.
The Health Projects Team is an 11 member team and consists of a carefully selected group of experts whose main goal is to execute the healthcare vision on the Member of Parliament for his constituents.
The team includes 3 Medical Doctors, 1 Principal Physician Assistant, 3 nurses/midwives, a finance person, a real estate agent, a Pharmacist, and a biomedical scientist. The head of the Health Project is Dr. Yennusom Maalug.
The mandate of the Health Project, that is, Hon. Sosu’s Health Vision for his constituents in the next four (4) years, includes:
i. Quartely Medical Outreaches for communities within the constituency ii. Establishment of recreational center for the aged iii. Establishment of Mobile clinics iv. Registering constituents onto the National Health Insurance Scheme
v. Providing financial assistance as well as raising funds for constituents who have certain medical conditions that the treatment is expensive, but they cannot afford.
vi. Quarterly donations of medical supplies and other consumables to Health Facilities within the constituency
vii. Quarterly Health walks viii. Sanitation – to ensure a clean constituency ix. Provision and Upgrading of health facilities in Madina
The targets of the Health Project at the end of the first term of the Honourable MP is to:
i. Bridge the equity gaps in geographical access to health services in the constituency. ii. Ensure reduction in the cost of financing for healthcare delivery to constituents. iii. Improve efficiency in the delivery of the healthcare in the constituency.
iv. Intensify public awareness on prevention and control of non-communicable and other communicable diseases.
v. Get more than 10, 000 vulnerable or poor constituents enrolled onto the National Health Insurance Scheme
In order to achieve this, the team has identified certain key projects which they have already started executing.
One of the major projects to help achieve the goal of bridging the gap in access to health services is to organize regular medical outreach programs in the various electoral areas within the madina constituency. The first one will be held on Saturday, 3rd April 1, 2021 at two separate locations (2 different electoral areas) within the constituency.
This outreach will provide free medical services including tests for blood sugar, blood pressure, malaria, weight as well as free medication for a total of one thousand people at each electoral area making a total of 2 000 people. This service will be rendered to people of all ages from children to the elderly. These outreaches are scheduled to take place every three months at different locations within the constituency.
Besides the regular medical outreach programs, sanitation within the constituency has also been identified as one of the major health concerns which the health project seeks to address. Plans are in place to embark on a “Keep Madina Clean” education drive. This will involve the use of social and tradition media, periodic clean up exercises and the provision of waste disposal bins within the constituency. The campaign will focus on changing attitudes towards sanitation by constituents. Desilting of choked gutters and drains has also been identified as a way of preventing the occurrence of flooding during the rainy season.
The mobile clinic is yet another innovative idea by the MP to ensure sustained access to quality healthcare services by good people of Madina constituency. This mobile clinic will be moving round the constituency on an established and published schedule to provide free healthcare services.
Having identified out of pocket payment for health services as a major hindrance to the attainment of SDG 3 and Universal Health Coverage, Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu, has instructed the health project to identify vulnerable groups within the constituency and register them on the National Health Insurance Scheme for free. As a human rights advocate, he is committed to article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone has a right to a good life with enough food, housing and healthcare. He believes that getting people enrolled on the NHIS will uphold their right to healthcare.
Recreational center for the Aged
Another item on the mandate of the Health Projects, under the office of the Member of Parliament for Madina constituency is the provision of recreational facilities for the elderly. The elderly in our community are largely overlooked when planning for community development, but Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu has them at heart and wants to make life comfortable for them.
Recreational parks as well as a recreational center tailored to the needs of the elderly with provision of healthcare services to them for free will be instituted before the end of his first term as MP.
Improvement of health infrastructure
The attainment of universal health coverage depends greatly on health infrastructure and the Honourable MP has identified a few of these for execution.
He intends to help facilitate the upgrade of the Danfa Health Center which provides primary healthcare services to the people of the constituency to a Polyclinic to enable it provide more services. It is also part of his plans to have a new health center constructed at Oyarifa and help operationalize some CHPS compounds in places like Otinibi and Teiman.
He has already started making donation of medical equipment to health facilities within the constituency and much more is to follow.
Assistance for health needs of the poor and vulnerable within and without the constituency
Another mandate of the health project is to attend to the immediate health needs of the poor and vulnerable in society. This is a rapid response system that identifies people in immediate need of assistance and to quickly rally support for them. This support can be in the form of cash or using his network to help get the best care for these people.
The Honorable Member of Parliament has long had the vision of establishing the Rescue Rehabilitation Center within the constituency to provide free community-based drug rehabilitation center for people with addictions. Substance abuse is a problem affecting the youth in the community and he wants to address this in an innovative way. This will involve the use of community resources to provide the service and by doing this, the community is expected to embrace it better. This project is expected to link up with other services like the Madina job center, the educational program and sports project to effectively integrate the people who will benefit from the rehabilitation service.
Honourable Francis-Xavier Sosu and the Health Projects look forward to partnering and collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure he brings to reality his health care vision for his constituents.
Honourable Sosu is just a few months into his first term as an MP, but it is without doubt that he has the people of Madina constituency at heart and is ready to serve them just as he promised them. He has already set the ground running and the people of Madina can be grateful they gave him the mandate.
Source:Dr. Yennusom Maalug, Head, Health Projects, Office of the Member of Parliament, Madina constituency