The Director of Internal Audit at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Kwabena Hemeng-Ntiamoah has blamed what he described as high financial infractions in public health facilities to lack of Internal Auditors.
According to him, out of the over 500 public health facilities in Ghana, only 183 have Internal Auditors making it difficult to ensure strict compliance with due processes.
Ghana’s Health Sector is estimated to lose about $500 million every year due to revenue leakages, waste, fraud, corruption, diversion of resources and accounting irregularities.
The canker is debilitating against quality healthcare delivery in spite of relatively high investments by governments.
“Our main challenge in the Ghana Health Service is that we have so many facilities across the country, we have more than 500 facilities that need internal Auditors but we are working with only 183 Internal Auditors across the country,” Hemeng-Ntiamoah disclosed during the inauguration of Internal Audit Committees for the 16 public hospitals in the Eastern region.
“So it makes it very difficult for us to get one by one facility monitoring by Internal Auditors. In that case, we have adopted zonal auditing but that is not helping much because Internal Auditor is supposed to be checking the accountants across the facilities daily so various financial malpractices we are encountering in the service can be minimized,” he added.
Hemeng-Ntiamoah said this during the inauguration of Internal Audit Committees for the 16 public hospitals in the Eastern region in accordance with Section 87 of the Public Financial Management Act,2016 (ACT 921) to supervise complaints of both internal and external audit reports.
The Head of Internal Auditors with the Eastern Regional Health Directorate, Jones Augustus Appiah, said Internal Audit Unit in the Sector must be decoupled from the Health Service to enable them to operate independently without fear of victimization.
“The practice of Internal Auditing has to do with independence. So far as we are reporting to our heads in the facilities you realized that always our independence is impaired. We are not independent that is why we make the argument that Internal Auditing should be a function of the Ministry of Finance whereby we should be separated from where we are working now,” he said.
He, however, urged the committees to work diligently according to the ethics of the profession.