Former Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr. Sylvester Mensah

A former Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr. Sylvester Mensah, has appealed to government to extend the incentive packages it announced to all health facilities and health professionals across the country.

The current definition of frontline health workers and 56 treatment centres, he said, is inaccurate and inappropriate and in addition grossly inadequate.

He argued that all health workers are, in reality, on the frontline and potentially at risk because they interact in a manner interrelated and too complex to be viewed within a closed contest of 56 treatment centres.

Mr. Mensah popularly known as Sly, in a statement, argued that when a person with the virus visits his neighbourhood clinic, he may interact with many health workers before he is referred to one of the 56 health facilities.

“The health workers at his clinic may be at even greater risk, as they may not have the same level of protection and preparedness as exists in the 56 earmarked treatment centers”, he stated.

He warned that by government’s delayed actions, positive cases may appear in any of the over 5,000 health facilities across the country.

Sly argued that by not including all health workers there is the risk of demotivating those who work outside the 56 designated facilities.

“Besides, if it is about the risk endured to save us all, I’m afraid we cannot even exclude private health facilities and the security agencies enforcing the lockdown,” he noted. 

The former CEO questioned the response strategy for the private health facilities in view of the fact that 12 of the positive cases are said to have been recorded from private clinics, laboratories and pharmacies.

The private health sector, he stressed, absorbs the over produced staff some of whom are working under less than perfect situations.

Their businesses, he stated, also need both stimulus and a rescue package.Mr. Sylvester Mensah urged government to ensure all health professionals in high risk areas undergo testing twice a month to guarantee patient safety and theirs as well.Scare resources, he added, must be assigned efficiently for the pandemic by applying them to prevent ill health and the welfare of overworked health staff including poorly paid private sector staff.

“Lets be careful not to trigger disaffection and its consequences and remember, water concession for all Ghanaians is great but would be suboptimal without electricity in our homes,” he said.