Impact of Global Health Actors on Health Policies of Ghana

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This essay would inquire in to the impact of global health actors on Health Policies in the Republic of Ghana highlighting the World Trade Organization, The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as reference points. Policy issues have emerged from both constructive and unconstructive effects of various global processes associated with development in the trans-national movement of funds, commodities, services, a rise in multinational corporations, widening inequalities, diseases coupled with poor access to social services. (Dodgson et al, 2002; Frenk et al 2002; Hurrell and Woods, 1995; Vieira 1993). Health related policies should involve the actions (and inaction) that affects institutions, organizations, services and funding arrangements of the health systems. It should incorporate policies from the public as well as the private sectors (Buse et al 2005). Global actors play an important and central role in policy making and health care funding (Gilson and Walt, 1994; Buse et al, 2007), In health policy perspective, global actors are defined as individuals’ organizations or state governments whose individual or collective actions defines the health policy of their states in terms of setting agendas, legitimizing health issues or allocating resources to various priorities as the need arises (Gill Walt, 1994; Shiffman, 2008). These actors will include principal players such as representatives of donor agencies, medical practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, civil servants, academics and health ministers. The mass media, both of the print and electronic worlds play a vital role in policy in most liberal democratic countries. They are perceived as a potent force in highlighting, shaping, influencing and provoking the government to action (Gill Watt, 1994; Chomsky, 1998; Koh, 2000; Sheehan 200 Shiffman, 2008; Buse et al, 2005). Rapid spread and emergence of new infectious diseases posing as a threat to many countries has seen to the emergence of the creation of a horizontal system of new partnerships and actors in health care at the global level thus posing as a challenge towards protection of goals in public health (Sid et al 1999; Walt, 2001; Dodgson et al, 2002; Shiffman, 2008). This is characterized by partnerships, conflicts and the introduction of new ideas by global actors such as the World Bank and the Gates foundation into the health policy system. This new actors have dramatically taken over the hold of power held by the likes of the World Health Organization and the United Nations who were at the fore front of international health matters in the 60’s (Buse and Gwin, 1998; Wuyts et al, 1992). This shift from nation based health policy making and a decline in funding from the Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development agency brought in diversity from the private sectors and thus their subsequent involvement in policy making. Overtime through provision of resources, expertise and the drive to address emergencies, these global actors have been able to hold onto power and direct global processes (Ollilia, 2005). I n developing countries health policies are subjected to pressure from within and out due to economic decline and reliance on external funds (Buse et al, 2005). Ghana in the 80’s experienced economic setbacks which led to the state being unable to fund public services against growing demand from the populace (Konadu-Agyemang, 2000). This led to funding dependence on non-state actors thus empowering them to influence and dictate terms of policy process and outcome, in most situations these outcomes are not usually rational and more often than not, they do not represent the true needs of the populace (Buse et al, 2005; Deacon et al, 1997)


Ghana attained independence March 1957 with brilliant predictions for developments and high optimism from the...
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