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Five-day annual review meeting of Reproductive and Child Health opens at Busua

By GNA
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Busua(WR), May 18, GNA - A five-day annual review meeting of Reproductive and Child Health of Ghana Health Service (GHS) opened on Monday under the theme "Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality: Scaling - Up Best Practices" at Busua in the Western Region.

Ms Betty Busumtwi-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, addressing the opening session, said Government would ensure interventions and issues like girls education, adolescent health corners at hospitals and health centres, free maternal care and National Health Insurance Scheme were sustained and improved upon.

She said these interventions were dear to Government because "Every life is precious and a maternal or child death is one too many. We have to strive towards a drastic reduction in the number of deaths during pregnancy, delivery and childhood".

Ms Busumtwi-Sam said the annual review meetings had ensured that strategies for reproductive and child health services were reviewed for better performance and had shown gradual improvement in indicators of good maternal and child health care and status.

She said development of a National Reproductive Health Policy, Standards and strict adherence to Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) had improved standards in health care.

Ms Busumtwi-Sam said objective assessments of maternal and child health status of the Demographic and Health Surveys of 2003 and 2008 showed a significant improvement in the maternal and child health status of Ghanaians.

She was optimistic the meeting would endeavour to undertake a sincere assessment of the current situation for further improved performance.

Dr Gloria Quansah-Asare, Director of Family Health Division of GHS, said maternal mortality was still high in the country and required intensive action to address it.

She said a research undertaken had determined the causes of maternal deaths, utilisation of health services and other maternal conditions that accounted for the deaths to help achieve national goals and Millennium Development Goals relating to infant, child and maternal health and mortality.

Dr Quansah-Asare said with regard to child health, there were indications of improving child survival and service data especially in immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, breast feeding practice and coverage.

She said there were still challenges regarding the level of malnutrition and coverage of child welfare services beyond the age of a year but while services to adolescents continued to improve in quality and coverage, school health services appeared to be on the decline in some areas.

Dr Quansah-Asare said vision of the Reproductive and Child Health Department of GHS was to contribute towards improvement of the health and quality of life of persons of reproductive age and beyond as well as children by providing high quality reproductive and child health services.

Dr Makane Kane, a representative of United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), said UNFPA in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO had invested technical and financial resources in ensuring the attainment of increased utilisation of high quality comprehensive maternal and child health services.

Others are, improved capacity building of health workers and a supportive environment that promotes Maternal and Child Health and Rights and attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said despite these efforts, maternal health seemed to be worsening as shown by the 2007 Maternal Health Survey.

Dr Kane said Ghana could boost of some of the best practices in Community Based Health Planning and Services Initiative, Zorko Initiative in the Bongo District of Upper East Region, transportation of pregnant women to health facilities by Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) in the Central Region.

He said the UN was prepared to support the country to document and scale up all the best practices that showed the potential of improving maternal and child health indices.

Dr Kane called on the regions and districts in the country to take the initiative of bringing all partners together to develop comprehensive, integrated and coordinated regional and district health plans to scale up tested and documented best practices.

GNA

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