The Ministry of Health (MOH), on Tuesday, launched the first edition of Ghana’s Strategy for Technology Assessment (HTA) document to inform decision-making to promote an equitable, efficient, and high-quality health system.
The document was launched by Alhaji Asei Mahama Seini, the Deputy Minister of Health, at a physical ceremony in Accra, which was also witnessed virtually by about 100 participants from various health sector institutions across the country.
Mr Kwaku-Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health, in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, described the HTA as a systematic and multidisciplinary process to evaluate the social, economic, organisational and ethical issues of a health intervention or health technology to inform policy decision making.
He said it was also a priority-setting tool to further advance the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in terms of deciding on who should be getting which intervention and at what cost, and the goal was to strengthen the science and practice of HTA in support of evidence-based decisions for the health sector.
The Health Minister explained that the Strategy would be executed through a five-year rolling implementation arrangement in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, and it was envisaged that within the period, evidence-based decisions in the health sector would lead to net gains in reimbursement, contribute to optimum prices and efficient procurement, and further help determine essential benefits under UHC among other aspects of the policy process.
“These concepts are linked to people-centred care, essential packages, resource allocation, and most importantly, cost effective delivery of quality health services,” adding that, it was important that policy decisions at all levels of the health system, were based on evidence and such could be obtained from the HTA.
Mr Agyeman-Manu stated that the National Health Insurance Scheme was a logical beneficiary of the positive impact of HTA, saying from the design and management of benefit package to the determination of the reimbursement list of medicines, as well as price setting mechanisms, the tool was seen as useful among other considerations to help assure value-for-money.
He said HTA in Ghana, would be given the needed strategic direction to ensure that the effective governance delivered on issues, including the effective selection of topics and sound technical work, capacity building for the right individuals and within institutions to conduct and implement HTA recommendations, and collaboration with other partners for effective work.
There will also be a focus on efficient and sustainable resource mobilisation for HTA, and in addition to the interventions on Valued Added Tax exemptions, the MOH had setup a National Medicines Pricing Committee, which would oversee the implementation of the new Medicines Pricing regime under the National Medicines Policy.
He said so far work in HTA had begun to demonstrate value addition in areas including assessing value in changing from amoxicillin suspension to dispersible tablets, assessment of the cost components of Ghana’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan as well as the cost effectiveness of treatment for newly diagnosed hypertension cases.
He called for the collaboration of all stakeholders in the implementation of HTA to ensure its success.
Dr Francis Kasolo, the WHO Country Representative, commended the MOH for the successful development of the Strategy.
He underscored the importance of prioritization for lower middle-income countries such as Ghana, for optimizing the deployment of limited resources, and cited the active involvement of the WHO in the development and institutionalization process of HTA in many countries including Ghana.
Dr Kasolo said the WHO intended to provide technical support in synch with the ongoing work on Essential Health Service Package led by the MOH, and reinforce its commitment advocacy towards strengthening Ghana’s health system to provide quality care to all, including the most vulnerable.