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13.05.2008 Editorial

Kufuor’s Manna For Pregnant Women

By Daily Guide
Kufuor’s Manna For Pregnant Women
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Imagine the release of good tidings for pregnant women from the state a few days to the celebration of Mothers' Day.

By all standards, this is an auspicious piece of news coming especially at a time when families are coping with the rising cost of living necessitated by a sagging global economy.

Last week, Mothers' Day was observed with sons and daughters showing love to their mothers with a medley of words of appreciation for what they went through bearing and nurturing them.

For government, the best way to mark the occasion is to lend a supporting hand to women labouring with pregnancy, which is what it has done in a fashion unrivalled in the history of health delivery in the country.

Medical delivery without doubt has been one critical area in which the President John Agyekum Kufuor-led administration has inscribed its name in gold.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), whose birth was preceded by a catalogue of condemnation by partisan commentators and politicians, stands out as the most important health delivery policy to be rolled out in the country.

Today, in spite of its shortcomings, a development common to all human institutions in their formative years anyway, the Scheme is being viewed across the country as a saviour of the poor and down-trodden.

No wonder other countries have showed interest in emulating our example.

Pregnant women covered by the Scheme, even by the current arrangement, enjoy free medical care.

Cynics have described it as a better option than the Cash-and-Carry arrangement which sent many have-nots to their premature deaths.

And now the new arrangement by which pregnant women will undergo prenatal, delivery and postnatal management gratis regardless of whether they are health insurance compliant or not paints a picture of a government totally committed to making a positive impression in the area of healthcare delivery.

The acquiescence by the British government to provide the Ghanaian government with £42.5 million to support the programme by itself underscores the confidence the Brits have in us.

It takes good governance and clout to attract such facilities, and we must congratulate ourselves for the feat.

We must counsel those who would be put in charge of the scheme to manage it with all sincerity.

We must prove to the British government that we can make a difference given the necessary support to enhance the living conditions of our people.

It would be unpardonable to fail to live up to the expectation of donors who dole out funding for us to undertake such a noble occupation like providing medicare to pregnant women.

Maternal health hitches have led to avoidable deaths throughout the country, statistics have showed.

In some parts of the country, both antenatal and postnatal care are viewed as luxuries which can only be savoured in the urban parts.

With the new deal in the offing, there is no reason why the trend cannot be reversed.

District assemblies and information service outfits must be involved in the dissemination of information about how to access the facility when it becomes fully functional.

With the annual amount of US$6 to manage the programme and prudent application, there is no reason why maternal deaths cannot be reduced to the barest minimum.

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