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18.02.2008 General News

Use funds judiciously- Minister urges health managers

By Accra Mail
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Mr Anthony Evans Amoah, Western Regional Minister, has called on health managers to judiciously use funds provided by the Global Fund for various activities under tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS programmes.

This he said would enable them to achieve set targets and make the attainment of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 a reality.

He made the call at the closing of the Annual Performance Review Meeting of the Regional branch of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) at Takoradi.

The three-day meeting was under the theme "Renewing Leadership Commitment to the GHS Agenda".

Mr Amoah said not withstanding budgetary constraints, arising out of competing demands of scares government resources; adequate funding had been provided for Tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS programmes.

He urged health managers to ensure that funds allocated to them are used effectively and efficiently for the programmes, so that more funds could be released.

Mr Amoah said certain developments and practices within the health sector in the region are conspiring to undermine the full realization of the benefits of well intended health interventions.

He said reports from various monitoring activities have shown that resources are not being managed effectively and efficiently in some districts and health facilities in the region.

Mr Amoah said there are credible reports that funds for the High Impact Rapid Delivery (HIRD) intervention were used by some districts for activities completely different from those approved under the programme.

He said the result is that the intervention has not achieved the needed impact in the region, adding that, despite the shortfall in funding, some appreciable successes have been achieved.

Mr Amoah said Out-Patient Department (OPD) attendance in the region increased from 1,324,866 in 2006 to 1,724,606 in 2007.

The Minister called for an improvement in supervised delivery, saying 42,887 deliveries were supervised in 2006 compared to 46,996 in 2007, an increase of one per cent.

He was happy that those who have registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) were benefiting as statistics available from the various health facilities show, and that there has been a reduction of the period between registration and accessing health care.
Mr Amoah said teething problems facing the scheme include slow re-imbursement of health providers by the scheme, late release of supplementary funds from the National Health Insurance Authority, difficulty in operating the “gate keeper” concept under the scheme and the lack of logistics for effective work.

His attention,he said, has been drawn to some fraudulent deals involving health personnel, and the action taken by the Regional Health Directorate to ensure that sanity prevails.

"Any fraudulent acts would disturb the equilibrium that we are gradually achieving", he said.

Mr Amoah said the poor reception of clients by some service providers have seriously brought the image of the health sector in the region into disrepute.

He said these negative developments have established the need for a critical look at attitudes and behaviour towards clients, and urged health managers and all health personnel to work hard to reverse the sinking image of the profession.

Mr Amoah said the incidence of malaria, which accounts for 46 point 9 per cent of OPD attendance, 38 point 9 per cent of hospital admissions and 16 point 5 per cent of hospital deaths in the region is a cause for concern.

He said malaria needs to be addressed with all the seriousness it deserves and that mosquito nets have been distributed to children less than 5 years, as well as pregnant women adding, "We all need to intensify our public education on the benefits of the nets to encourage its usage".

Nana Adu Agyeman, Chairman of the Regional Health Committee, who presided over the programme, said the threat posed by new diseases notably HIV/AIDS, malaria and the re-emergence of old diseases such as yaws and tuberculosis was a major concern.

He urged District Directors of Health Services to liaise with district and Metropolitan Assemblies to implement preventive measures against malaria, saying the emphasis should be on preventive measures because until the environment is kept clean by distilling chocked gutters and disposing of millions of tonnes of refuse, the eradication of malaria would be a mirage.

The World Health Organisation presented awards to Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai and Jomoro district assemblies as well as the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly for their campaign against HIV/AIDS at the function.

The Mpohor Wassa East District was adjudged the best in the performance of health programmes and was presented with a deep freezer while the Dixcove Hospital was presented with a split air conditioner, for purchasing most of its drugs from the Regional Medical Stores.

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