Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Gladys Ashitey,
on Tuesday observed that the battle against childhood diseases and maternal health could only be won through sustained and relentless implementation of known and tested interventions.
She mentioned some of the interventions as immunization, food supplementation and prevention against endemic diseases like malaria.
Launching the 2008 Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaign in Accra, she said it was important for the nation to realise that even though the country had continued to invest in revamping the health systems, “we still have a long way to go to make it respond to the needs of every family in Ghana”.
The campaign on the theme: “Healthy Mothers and Children Make a Better Ghana” would serve to overcome some of the inherent challenges and obstacles that make it difficult to reach those who for some reasons are not able to take up services within the routine systems.
Services to be provided this year include polio immunization for children under-five, vitamin A supplementation for children 6 months to 5 years and distribution of insecticide treated nets for children below one year.
“Last year the campaign was successful in the sense that most of the services reached more than the targeted 80 per cent. The polio vaccination and Vitamin A supplementation were both 100 per cent. Insecticide treated net coverage for pregnant women was also 76 per cent,” she added.
Dr. Ashitey said the task of reducing deaths among children and pregnant women was therefore not limited to health workers alone but all citizens to ensure healthy motherhood.
“It is only our collective involvement that will be able to increase the coverage for this year and the coming years so that by 2015, Ghana will meet the MDG targets,” she said.
Dr. Isabella Sagoe-Moses, National Child Health Coordinator, Ghana Health Service, said the maternal mortality remained high, adding that, about 50 per cent of the main causes of death were preventable.
She said about 80,000 children under-five also died every year from preventable deaths.
However, cost effective interventions were now available in Ghana to improve both maternal and child mortality.