Former Minister for Health, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, has shot down a proposal for the privatization of public hospitals, noting that is not the panacea to the numerous challenges confronting the Ghana Health Service.

According to Dr. Afriyie, although he supports the crusade for the decentralization of the Ghana Health Service, privatizing public hospitals will be inimical to the country.

“If there is a problem at hand, we can solve it but this proposal for the privatization of public hospitals, I don’t agree. In a broader policy, if public service on the government is too much and if there is a policy shift to allow for more private participation, we can explore that possibility and I will support it,” he noted.

Dr. Afriyie said this in an interview with Kwaku Owusu Adjei on Si Mi So on Kasapa 102.3 FM Thursday.

His submission comes in the wake of a proposal by the Ghana Chamber of Pharmacy calling for the privatization of Teaching and Regional Hospital across the country.

The Chamber believes that the move will bring about improved efficiency in the delivery of health care services and will also win the government out from spending huge amount of resources on their operations.

“When you go to other jurisdictions like India, the Apollo Hospital is privatized and listed on the Stock Exchange. When you go there, you see the efficiency level, the commitment to deliver quality service and the commitment of staff towards the service that they are providing.”

“So, what we are saying is that if the Government of Ghana can take this bold initiative – like say all Teaching and Regional Hospitals – let us list them on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) for us to see how efficient the service delivery will be like in those health institutions,” said the CEO of Chamber of Pharmacy, Anthony Amekah.

However, Dr. Afriyie disagrees even though he believes that Ghana Health Service has become too big an organization that does a lot of work and needed to be decentralized.

He said those making such a proposal are doing so because of the strike action by the Ghana Medical Association and the withdrawal of services by some other health workers and professionals.

“What if the private sector also embarks on a strike action in the near future, what are we going to do? In any country, what we call essential services like health and transport are not placed at a particular sector – public or private sector. Where you draw the balance is a matter of policy,” he noted.