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05.04.2007 General News

¢1.3tn pumped into health sector

By Ghanaian Times

The health sector is to receive ¢1.3 trillion from the National Health Insurance Levy for accessible health care delivery this year.

The Deputy Health Minister, Mr Samuel Owusu-Agyei, said the move will enable the health sector to provide quality and accessible health care delivery.

"As good citizens of Ghana, we have a collective responsibility of ensuring that we support the National Health Insurance Scheme to cushion us by joining it and contributing our premiums regularly," he said.

Mr. Owusu-Agyei was speaking at a press briefing in Accra yesterday ahead of the 2007 World Health Day, which falls on Saturday. The celebration in Ghana has been rescheduled to April 11 due to the Easter festivities.

The theme for this year's celebration is, "International Health Security," with a slogan urging governments, organisations and businesses to "invest in health and build a safer future."

The Deputy Minister said the theme is designed to increase public awareness and understanding of the link between health and security and engage high-level political commitment to address key health security challenges.

He said that the government has made great efforts, even within the limited resources, to provide health care for the people, stressing that the positive outcome of these efforts is manifested in the eradication of some communicable diseases like small pox and yaws.

"Diseases like, measles and polio which killed many children in the past are now under serious control," he added.

He urged media personnel to use their expertise to foster greater collaboration among stakeholders and influence policy makers to understand that the "wealth of a country is the health of its people."

The WHO Representative, Dr. Joaquim Saweka, said global health is facing a greater risk than ever in the last two decades in view of the emergence of new infectious diseases.

He said the health situation has been compounded by chronic lifestyles, natural disasters, the threats of war and of bio-terrorism and climate change.

"For us in developing countries, this situation has been worsened by under-funded health systems and the migration of skilled health workers to more affluent countries," he said.

He noted that in recent times, disease outbreaks have become more complex public health events because of their ability to cross national borders, saying "traditional defence at national borders do not protect against microbes on unsuspecting travellers, or insects hiding in a cargo hold."

He said unless countries adopt a global health response to disease outbreaks and other health related concerns, the rising threats to health and security could place international public health in danger.

Source: Ghanaian Times