The Chief Executive Officer of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dr. Oheneba Owusu-Danso, has called on health service providers to enhance the credibility and the procurement function of contracts in order to efficiently manage the procuring entity with the duties of service provider.
He said this would help identify non-performing suppliers and enable contractor and supplier to deliver items on time.
Dr. Owusu-Danso made when the call when he delivered his keynote address at the 43rd Annual conference of the Association of Health Service Administrators of Ghana (AHSAG) at a ceremony in Ho.
The conference which was on the theme “Effective Contract Administration, the role of the Health Service Administrator”, was to receive recommendations from stakeholders, in order to deepen good contract management.
Dr. Oheneba Owusu-Danso, emphasized that contract management and administration must contribute significantly to a company’s financial health.
He said this was a strategic plan in optimizing contract performance and improving the return of investments and noted that available records at the Public Procurement Authority about 40 percent of waste in the procurement process occurs during contract administration and management.
He said this was because attention is not given to the process, leading to the significant wastage in the system, “this happens when the institutional or company interest is substituted by personal interest”.
Dr. Owusu-Danso indicated that a research report by the Ghanan Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Anti-corruption Coalition and SEND-Ghana revealed that about 30 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product is lost to corruption most of which is attributable to poor or corrupt management of contracts.
He said for instance, if essential medicines were awarded on contract and not managed effectively to ensure delivery, “an out of stock situation may result in the loss of dear lives which we can never restore”.
“As managers, we should be mindful of all the various stages in the documentation of the contract throughout the process, but regrettably this is where we fail in Ghana” he said.
According to him, people would want to enjoy rights under a contract but are hesitant to discharge the responsibilities the contract exposes on them to the letter “especially where it inconveniences them or challenge their comfort or gains”.
He stressed that cost overruns, delay in meeting timelines and increased downtime resulted in shoddy works and that he said, contributed to the failure of effective management and administration of contract.
He said “we have seen situations where if there is an established financial loss to the state, some people are held accountable but perpetrators go unpunished and the tax- payer bears the loss”.
He noted this was due to the lack of commitment to effective contract administration adding that “we need to bring the dissipation of state resources through our disinterest to an end”.
He emphasized that for contract management not to become an orphan in the health sector, health service administrators must cover their scope of responsibility comprehensively, become conscious of their roles and remain passionate of their jobs.
He urged the administrators to place good value on each contract, endeavour to secure value for money in all contracts and monitor them with needed keenness, “Do not see any contracts as small and irrelevant”, he added.
“I wish to urge members of AHSAG to view your positions as a “position of trust” and be guided by the huge confidence reposed in you. Do your best to exhibit high level of integrity”, he said.
He said this are key elements safeguarding the interest of health facilities and institutions and helping management teams in fighting all conflict of interest and corrupt tendencies in contract management.
He said the Komfo Anokye teaching hospital have taken steps to improve processes because about 70 percent of IGF are spent on contracts, we are however poised to improve on what we have started.
He commended the Association for their proactive efforts to initiate a national dialogue on contract management, this he said would create awareness, skill development and the quality of contract administration in the health sector.
By Agnes Melissa Yovo | VOLTA REGION