The Upper West Region made a significant achievement in the fight against guinea worm infestation recording 93 cases of the disease last year as against 333 in 2005.
However, 14 cases emerged in the Sissala West District, which had hitherto not registered a single case in the preceding three years, while in the Wa East District, the most endemic district in the Region; there was a drastic drop from 260 cases in 2005 to 64 last year.
Dr Daniel Yayemain, Senior Medical Officer in charge of Public Health, made this known when he gave an overview of the health situation in the Region at the annual Regional Health Sector Review Conference at Wa on Wednesday.
The four-day conference, which is being attended by sectional heads of the Ghana Health Service in the Region and representatives of donor partners would review the performance of the various sectors of the Service in the Region last year, make projections and set targets for the coming years.
Dr Yayemain said the Region was also beginning to witness positive results in malaria prevention as a result of the numerous interventions by government and development partners such as the distribution of 80,000 treated bed nets to children under five years of age and pregnant mothers last year.
He said 97 people died from malaria in 2006, while the figure for people killed by the disease was 135 in 2005.
On the National Health Insurance Scheme, he expressed regret that only 153,000 people representing only 24% of Region's total population of 637,000 had registered to be part of the Scheme.
About half the number of persons registered for the Scheme fall under the non-paying category such as the aged and children under 18 years.
Mr. Ambrose Dery, Upper West Regional Minister, urged health professionals to be factual, honest and dispassionate with information on health issues for accurate assessment of achievements to enhance target setting.
He said the reduction of the HIV prevalence rate from 2.6% to 2.0% by December 2010, increasing institutional delivery of health services, putting basic facilities at those institutions and deepening community and stakeholder participation in health delivery should be targets that the Region must achieve.
The Regional Minister urged development partners to provide the Region with more Community Health and Integrated Health Planning Services (CHIPS) compounds to bring health services closer to the rural people.
He noted that there were only 24 CHIPS compounds in the Region, which were a far cry from the health needs of the people.
Dr Erasmus Agongo, Regional Director of Health Services, called for the provision of more residential facilities for staff of the Service and the newly opened Health Assistants Training School based in Wa.
He observed that the absence of accommodation for doctors and flats for housemen partly accounted for the Region's inability to attract medical doctors.