"Healthy people are productive people. We will build a Ghana Health Service which provides a high standard of service to every citizen".
"My Government will support Primary Health Care. However equal emphasis will be placed on preventive as on curative medicine".
"Developing a second-rate health service is the best guarantee of an accelerated brain drain in the sector. We need to develop an affordable but world class health services sector to cater to all segments of our population, to attract patients from outside the country, and to provide the conditions that make it worthwhile for the best trained health service workers to stay".
Professor Atta Mills' policy on health, much like his policy on education, is predicated on his belief that access to good and affordable health service is a right of every citizen. As such, he echoes the agenda of his party (the National Democratic Congress) which argues that "Health care must be provided as a matter of governmental obligation irrespective of economic or social circumstances".
To achieve his objective, Professor Atta Mills proposes a two-pronged strategy of major emphasis on preventive medicine (with special attention to malaria, buruli ulcer, tuberculosis, eradication of guinea worm, and an intensification of the fight against HIV/AIDS), as well as on curative medicine. In the latter context, Professor Atta Mills recommends a major effort for the Ghanaian health services to develop world class expertise in: the treatment of burns, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, cardio-thoracic services, dialysis, eye, orthopedic and ENT services.
The emphasis on curative and cosmetic medicine may appear ambiguous for a health sector which to provide services as a "right of every citizen". It is, however, to be explained by the following facts: Ghanaians with the means have always been able to seek medical treatment elsewhere. Moreover, the best trained medical personnel have had no problems finding better opportunities outside the country to practice their profession. The vast majority of the population, however, is obliged to rely on the national health services for addressing their medical problems. Thus, unless the national health services are developed to such an extent that both Ghanaians with the means and the best trained medical personnel have an incentive to stay, the availability of good and affordable health care to the vast majority, would prove illusory.
In terms of financing, the public sector has a primordial role to play in the training of health specialists (including the local training of physiotherapists, laboratory technologists, and radiographers), as well as in establishing health facilities. The private sector establishment of health facilities and private practice will be encouraged. Health insurance (both public and private, national and local) will be a major source of mobilizing additional resources for the sector and for ensuring financial access, especially for the middle classes.