By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
A Plus consultancy firm in collaboration UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Tuesday organised a daylong validation workshop on the Costing of Basic Health Care Package.
Organisers said the Country Program-Action Plan of the initiative, 2012-2016 which is between the Government of the Gambia and UNICEF, made provisions for reviewing and updating the costing methodologies in the health sector in order to align it with current international best practices.
Speaking on behalf of the health minister at a ceremony organised at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Senegambia, Permanent Secretary Dawda Ceesay said one of the major reasons for underfunding in health is due “principally to lack of undertaking periodic and systematic cost analysis of health services, as well as developing costing guidelines as a basic for setting price mechanism on health goods and services.”
He expressed gratitude to the health financing unit of the Directorate of Health Planning unit and UNICEF, for supporting the initiative.
Mr. Omar Ousman Jobe, the executive director of A Plus-Gambia, hailed the initiative and thanked UNICEF for stepping forward in providing resources to ensure that the methodology for costing primary health care is reviewed and updated.
He disclosed how UNICEF contracted A Plus The Gambia to put together a team comprising senior staff from the ministry of finance and health specialists drawn from Civil Society organisations to work with the health planning unit and other relevant stakeholder groups to update the existing methodology and to develop guideline for costing health services.
The A Plus director said in order to articulate the requests of UNICEF, they need experts’ knowledge of the health sector, a good grasp of health financing and costing methodologies.
He paid homage to UNICEF and the Ministry of Health for accompanying the journey to making the country’s health service sector work better.
Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF resident representative promised to support the ministry of health and thanked A Plus for partnering.
Madam Nyanti assured that they will continue to support and collaborate with the ministry of health and other partners in the Country.