January 2014 TheDailyObserver; The National Health Accounts (NHA) was on Wednesday launched by the minister of Health and Social Welfare at a ceremony held at the Governor’s Office in Brikama, West Coast Region (WCR).
The NHA is an internationally standardised methodology for measuring financial resources flows in the health sector. It is a tool that allows countries to track the flow of health spending from financial sources to end-users.
In his launching statement, Minister Omar Sey explained that the NHA is meant to influence the policy through its use by policymakers who can make evidence-based decisions. This, he underscored, is important in order to address inequity and inequality issues and achieving universal health coverage, and health care financing needs amongst others.
The government of The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh, the minister indicated, is funding an extensive health care delivery which is “next to none in the sub-region and is almost free to all Gambians”. “One of the highest priorities of the National Health Accounts is to develop reliable and timely data that is comparable across countries,” he further told the gathering.
The minister described The Gambia’s health system as a good performer, which also does better than many countries in terms of progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. He thanked the World Health Organisation and the Global Fund for their efforts in the development and realisation of the National Health Accounts project in The Gambia.
The governor of WCR, Lamin Sanneh, said the development of a mechanism that monitors the flow of money in the health sector is key in the health care delivery system of any country. He opined that the result of a National Health Accounts study has the potential to dictate the development of a health financing policy that is evidence-based.
“The launching of a mechanism that provides information on the trend in health spending based on health care activities, diseases and population categories is indeed timely and essential,” he affirmed.
The regional Health director, Ngally Aboubacarr Sambou, said the strength of the NHA is the ability to present a comprehensive picture of resource allocation in terms of a single measure with multiple dimensions.