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17.02.2009 Health

JICA assists in health care delivery in Upper West Region

By GNA

Health care delivery in the Upper West Region has improved tremendously, especially in the areas of maternal and child health care.

The achievement had been made possible through the Japanese government interventions under its Programme of “Improving the Health Status of People Living in Upper West Region”

The Programme is aimed at improving access to quality basic health services under the concept of “Human Security and Capacity Development” to help address the high maternal and child mortality rates that the region was recording annually.

The Upper West Region has the highest number of mortality rate of children “under five years” with a ratio of 208 deaths per 1000 births. It recorded 19 maternal deaths in 2008 as against 29 in 2007.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has been implementing the Programme with technical assistance, had helped in training 140 Community Health Officers to upgrade their knowledge and skills on mother and child care at the Community Health-based Planning and Services (CHPS) level.

Mr Takaharu Ikeda, Programme Management Specialists of JICA, in an interview with the GNA, said the goal of “this technical cooperation project” is to increase the coverage of functional CHPS in the region.

It is also to strengthen the institutional capacity of Ghana Health Service on GHPS implementation.

Mr Ikeda said 80 staff members of the Regional Health Management and 160 from the District Health Management Teams, including the Sub-district Health Management team had been trained to upgrade their knowledge and skills to manage CHPS.

“They have also been trained on enhancing supervision, strengthening referral systems and improved community participation in disseminating best practices for potential replication.

He said JICA has also provided some basic logistics, such as medical equipment and motorbikes to the 64 old health facilities and the six hospitals as well as four ambulances to some of the deprived districts to improve referral of patients.

The ambulances were supplied with assistance from a Japanese Grant Aid Scheme while it also provided equipment to improve the capacities of the regional hospital and the district hospitals to carry out comprehensive obstetric care.

“A need assessment survey had also been carried out in health facilities to respond to the further needs of equipment supply”, Mr. Ikeda said.

He said eight Japanese volunteers with expertise in nursing, nutrition, public health, Information, education and communication (IEC) and community development have been dispatched to the region with a strong linkage to the technical cooperation project.

“Notwithstanding the numerous constraints such as human resource, compound constructions and logistics, some progress has been made”, Mr Ikeda said.

“Collaboration with other development partners in the region is stronger now. Some communities have experienced participatory learning approaches and manifested strong commitment for community health”, he added.

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