Health Ministry Needs Strong Leader – Dr Bernakuu

Dr Gabriel Bernakuu, President, Coalition of NGOs in Health

The President of the Coalition of NGOs in Health has described has described the Health sector of the country as one that needs “strong leadership” to be able to effectively and efficiently deliver on its mandate.

Dr Gabriel Gbiel Bernakuu believes the country’s health sector needs more reforms to foster the wellbeing of citizens for a robust economy other than how the system currently looks like.

Speaking to Kwame Minkah, host of Ete Sen? on Radio XYZ 93.1, Dr Bernakuu observed that for the country to see a sturdy health sector, the leadership of the Health Ministry must be changed.

“We need a very strong leader in the health sector,” he added. When quizzed whether the sector Minister should be changed, Dr Bernakuu said “Kwaku Agyeman Manu is doing his best but we need a very strong person to put the health Ministry in shape.”

Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Health minister.


His choice of minister for the ministry is not a politician, but an entrepreneur who will change the face of the ministry and ensure a vigorous synergy between the Ministries of Finance and Health.

To that effect, Dr Bernakuu said the funding for the National Health Insurance (NHIS) will be in good shape for a better health delivery in the country so citizens, especially politicians do not seek medical care outside the country.

“Why should you pick big money and go outside the country to seek health care and leave yours if it’s in good shape?” he questioned.

To him, the Ghana Health Service is prepared to provide excellent health delivery when rightly resourced, stressing that “When the GHS get the right equipment and support, they’ll work effectively.” 


His observation follows a report the Coalition of NGOs in Health released on the status of Ghana’s health sector, recently.

The report, among other things, highlights and juxtaposes government policies and successes in the health sector.

For instance, prior to the 2016 general elections, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to revive the National Health Insurance Scheme to make it efficient, with capacity to finance health services on a timely basis in a bid to achieve universal health coverage for all Ghanaians.

The NPP manifesto disclosed that an NPP government would review and restructure the sources of funding, manage the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) well, increase budgetary allocations to the NHIS by directing and “strictly ceding all funds raised through the NHIA Levy into the NHIF, and concentrate on activities that focus on quality patient treatment, medication, and care.”

The NPP, in its manifesto, also said its government would adopt a “modernised strategy towards drugs procurement, including the establishment of a preferred pharmacy network, incentivising appropriate prescriptions,” and gradually shift away from the Central Medical Stores arrangement, and emphasise on “preventive healthcare”

However, the Coalition of NGOs in Health, in its report following its findings, observed that “No or little financing” has gone into the preventive health education promised Ghanaians.

“NHIS is still struggling to settle Service Providers,” Dr Bernakuu noted and hinted that under a stronger leadership, the Ministry of Health will be able to put a stop to the shortcomings, especially if the minister is “an entrepreneur.”

He advised that “NHIS should strengthen preventive education and scale up enrollment drive and enter into Public Private Partnership with CSOs.”

The coalition wants Parliament to amend the NHIA Act as an independent body to manage its own affairs, with the use of equity principles.

Health Facilities

Although Dr Bernakuu commended the government for restoring the allowances of Nursing trainees and asked for it to regularize its disbursement, he said the coalition was not happy with the feet-dragging attitude of the government in relation to upgrading existing health facilities in the country.

Dr Bernakuu said the NPP promised to upgrade all existing District Hospitals and establish new ones to ensure that each District had at least one hospital yet 23 months after assuming power that has “not been enforced… No infrastructure has been upgraded” adding that their findings showed that “no administrative communication” had been given in that regard.

“Old CHPS compounds are not inaugurated and the already constructed ones are abandoned with no Human Resource deployment,” he lamented and urged the government to establish new Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) and upgrade District hospitals.


By: Henryson Okrah/