As Health Licensing Authority Pledges Quality Healthcare
By Gifty Arthur
Stakeholders under the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HEFRA), one of the agencies inaugurated recently under the Ministry of Health (MoH), have agreed to diligently work together to ensure quality healthcare delivery for all Ghanaians.
This means that, the medical negligence which has been on the ascendency in the country, would be reduced to the barest minimum. This is because, all health facilities in the country; public and private, have now been placed under the effective supervision, monitoring and licensing authority of HEFRA.
The Agency, which has Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Holy Trinity and Beauty Spa, Dr. Felix Anyah, as it Board Chairman, made the commitment in Accra at the Kempinski Hotel, last Friday.
Minister for Fisheries; Sherry Ayitey, whose last portfolio was the Health Ministry, was present at the ceremony excitedly described the setting up of the Agency as a “long journey”.
She asked members to sacrifice even more to achieve their goals, adding it was time Ghanaians get quality healthcare.
She reminded the Board to work even harder as their existence now means that if anybody feels that he has been given a raw deal by an institution they licensed, that facility could be sued with the inclusion of the Board.
“Members, your integrity must be preserved”, she added in conclusion.
Acting CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Nathaniel Otto, who is also a Board Member, underscored the importance of quality healthcare saying “we at NHIA, quality healthcare matters to us a lot”. But he noted quality healthcare starts from licensing which HEFRA is responsible for.
In turns, various stakeholders pledged their fullest support to enable the agency carry out its mandate and achieve its objectives.
The event was a working dinner dubbed “Inception Business Dinner”, and it was fully sponsored by the management of the Holy Trinity and Beauty Spa at Sogakope in the Volta Region; one of the health institutions registered by HEFRA.
It brought together various heads of departments and groups under the Health Ministry, including the Association of Private Health Practitioners, Christian Health Association of Ghana, Pharmacy Council, Association of Professional Regulatory Agencies Development Partners and many others.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Anyah, who leads the 10-member board made of the National Health Insurance Authority, MoH, Attorney General’s Department, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana among others, said the Agency sought to regulate quality healthcare delivery for both public and private health sectors.
He noted, many Ghanaians have witnessed the infusion of higher standards in the private hospitals and Maternity Homes. This he said was achieved “Through innovation and determination of various private entrepreneurs to introduce international quality standards of the global village locally”.
For the first schedule section II, facilities that will be licensed and regulated include medical and dental clinics and hospitals, eye care clinics, convalescent and nursing homes, geriatric homes, occupational therapy clinics, dental technology laboratory, clinical and biomedical laboratory.
HEFRA was established by Act 829, passed in 2011 by Parliament.
The Board has three functions first being to determine the basic and minimum equipment and personnel required for the type of services to be provided in a practice, regulating and monitoring activities in a practice to determine the adequacy and standard of healthcare provided.
Lastly, the Board is to collaborate with any other or authority, to maintain professional standards.
During the inauguration of the HEFRA Council last year, Health Minister Alex Segbefia said the agency is characterized by low registration and licensing of facilities with only an estimated 826 facilities accredited.
He told the Council to support and provide strategic direction to the incoming Registrar in the establishment of headquarters and zonal offices and the recruitment of competent staff and adopt a coherent organizational framework to underpin its work in regulation.
“It is my expectation that as a Board, you will not only provide constructive support to the incoming Registrar but that you will respect the fine line between day to day managing and your strategic and visionary role.
I have no doubt that HEFRA has the potential to be financially self-sustaining under proactive and innovative leadership”, Mr. Segbefia who was absent this time, was reported to have said.
The outgoing Registrar of the HEFRA, was honoured with a plaque from Pharmacy Council led by from Mr. Nyoagbe, its Registrar.