The Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana (PHFAG) is pushing for government to scrap taxes on medical equipment imported into the country.
According to them, there is a potential 40% reduction in the cost of dialysis if the taxes on the importation of their equipment are scrapped.
This was part of a proposal the Association has sent to government following JoyNews’ Special campaign, the Dialysis Crisis.
Dr. Yaw Osafo, the Eastern Region Rep of the Association and a member of the delegation explained that the crisis creates an opportunity to talk about the broader health system in Ghana.
“I think the dialysis crisis also gives us an opportunity to be focused and use that as a prototype to deal with that bigger challenge which for me is equipment. In the Eastern region currently, there is only one facility offering dialysis service. They have about 6 dialysis chairs. We’re just about commissioning ours as well, so I can tell you how difficulties or the challenges are trying to set up.”
“If you want to get in medical equipment, right from an ambulance to the other equipment. Just getting the ambulance in, the duties that we had to pay at the Tema port was almost the same as purchasing that fully equipped ambulance from Holland. I don’t think it helps anybody,” he said.
He, on behalf of the Association, proposed that the government scraps taxes on the importation of the
He revealed that setting up a dialysis center in Ghana is extremely expensive, and they will need the support of the government to deal with the rising cost of service to Ghanaians.
“Health care is a social enterprise and we really need the support of government in looking at the private players, and not to be looked upon as we’re in business. If I buy equipment to set up an MRI scan, it’s going to take about 10 years to break even, but the value of that MRI scanner to the people of this country is immense.
“So please, our plea to the government is to take a careful look at the taxes on medical equipment coming in. I’m expecting some machines into the country, but I’m scared of the taxes I will have to pay,” he said.
Reacting to the proposal, Ghana’s Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed that the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance Authority are expected to release a comprehensive plan to funding kidney treatment in Ghana in the next couple of weeks.
This will determine the direction of government in dealing with kidney treatment in Ghana.
According to him, the Government identifies the dialysis crisis as a major issue that must be taken up, and handled appropriately, adding that the President, based on the importance of the issue, has directed health authorities to devise a plan to deal with dialysis funding in the country.
“First, I think it is important to inform you that when the matter came up, the President instructed the health authorities to examine it and to come to the table with various recommendations on how to deal with it, and I do know that those recommendations are due on the table in the next couple of weeks by the Health Insurance Authority and the Ministry of Health,” he stated.
He explained that health is a public service and ordinarily, it will be the work of gov’t to provide quality affordable health care that is accessible to the population everywhere, and since there are financing constraints in this country, it is only proper that the private sector is supported when they are willing to help.
“So the point you make about some support to get in medical equipment like dialysis equipment, I think, is simple and straightforward that we should explore ways that we can make it easy and affordable for the private sector to bring in those equipment.
“And specifically the matter of taxes on dialysis machines and other related equipment are things that I think we should look at, and I can assure you that these are matters that we will raise cogently at the table at cabinet; that if the public service on its own doesn’t have the resources to bring in these equipment and the private sector wants to do it, then it makes sense that we don’t then add taxes despite the revenue that we need as a country,” the Minister explained.
Health Ministry and National Health Insurance Authority to announce a comprehensive solution to funding kidney treatment in a couple of weeks after JoyNews’ limited series ‘Dialysis Crisis’.
Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana hints there could be a 40% reduction in cost of dialysis should government scrap taxes on importation of medical equipment