Ablakwa drops bombshell on GH¢2.67bn ‘dubious’ digitization initiatives in health sector

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Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu

The North Tongu Member of Parliament has accused the government of massive expenditure in the health sector in initiatives he describes as “dubious, duplicative, and deadly so-called digitalization.”

In a lengthy post on Facebook on April 3, 2024, Ablakwa said the sum of these initiatives came up to GH¢2.67bn.

He lamented serial reports of how health facilities across the country had suffered one form of deprivation or the other in recent years.

“With this shambolic state of health care in Ghana, one wonders why the current Akufo-Addo/Bawumia-led government will ignore the priorities begging for urgent solutions and rather be fixated on dubious, duplicative and deadly so-called digitalization initiatives at a heartless cost of GHS2.67 billion?” his post read in part.

He continued: “To our utter shock, the National Health Insurance Authority has submitted a 2024 allocation formula to Parliament, which mindlessly and unpatriotically prioritizes the following:

1. Biometric ID Cards and Authentication System — GHS405.74million (this is despite the billions we have already spent on Ghana Cards)

2. Management Information System — GHS343.92million

3. Capturing of Claims Data — GHS112million

4. Ministry of Health (Health Provider – E-Health Solution) — GHS80million

5. Claims Processing Centres and E-Claims — GHS76million

6. Archival System and Document Management— GHS38.58million

7. Telecare Services Platform — GHS30million

8. Transfer of Data from NIA GHS10million

9. E-Pharmacy — GHS11million

“The NHIA’s dubious and duplicative digitalization expenditure for 2024 alone amounts to an incredible GHS1,107,240,000. (See attached relevant extracts from NHIA’s Allocation Formula submitted to Parliament.)

“The fundamental question is — should a struggling health insurance scheme which is unable to pay claims on time, a scheme owing hospitals, a scheme operating in dilapidated hospitals without critical equipment, with many analysts indicating that cash-and-carry is back in many parts of Ghana, be spending over GHS1.1billion on non-core interventions in the name of digitalization?

“Note also that after the NHIA allocated over GHS1.1 billion in 2024 to shady and misplaced digitalization deals, they callously and shamelessly allocated only a paltry GHS2 million for desperate dialysis patients.

“What is even more disturbing, my investigations reveal that most of the items the NHIA is spending over a billion cedis on are already catered for in another massive US$100 million (GHS1.3 billion) single-sourced contract awarded in 2017 by the Ministry of Health under Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu to a company known as Lightwave eHealthcare Solutions Limited. The November 20, 2015, registered company is owned by Sampson Djaba and Vincent Attabuatsi (see incorporation documents attached).

“The US$ 100 million Lightwave project is described as the E-Health Project with Bio-Surveillance (Early Warning) System. The launch took place at the Winneba Trauma and Specialist Hospital on November 21, 2017, and was headlined by Chief of Staff Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare as the Special Guest of Honour, Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu as Keynote Speaker, and Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General of the Ghana Health Service,” it added.

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