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28.06.2005 Health

Health Managers express concern about decline in coverage levels

By GNA

Tamale, June 28, GNA - Public Health Managers of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have expressed concern about the decline in coverage levels of most public health interventions and the non-attainment of targets.

The inability to achieve the desired results as shown in Ghana's Demographic and Health Survey of 2003, had resulted in the unacceptable high infant and maternal death rates in the country.

The Managers also bemoaned the poor environmental sanitation in the cities and communities causing infection among the people.

These were contained in a communiqu=E9 issued and signed by Dr George Amofah, Director of Public Health and five others at the end of the eighth Public Health Retreat conference in Tamale.

The communiqu=E9 recognized the linkage between malnutrition and child mortality, as well as good governance and health. It, however, expressed worry about the continuous reduction in the number of health personnel in the country and the resultant increase in the workload on those in the service.

The Managers were appreciative of the recent downward trend of the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate and the 50 per cent reduction in guinea worm cases recorded.

They commended the government's extension of free delivery services to all the Regions in an effort to reduce maternal and infant deaths aimed at achieving the health targets of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

With these challenges in place, the Managers had therefore resolved to reposition themselves to do things differently to provide quality health care delivery to the people.

"We have renewed our commitment to work together with all stakeholders including the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, District Assemblies, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, the Media and the communities to launch a national crusade to improve sanitation in our cities and communities", the communiqu=E9 said. The Managers gave the assurance that they would redouble their efforts to interrupt the transmission of the guinea worm in the shortest possible time.

They would also intensify supervisory visits, especially to the districts and rural communities, to promote good governance and accountability, as well as share best practices and innovations to improve services in the poor performing districts. "We renew our call on managers of health services at all levels to institute a mandatory and free annual medical examination for health workers as a way of ensuring a healthy workforce", the communiqu=E9 said.

The Managers urged district assemblies to judiciously use the Poverty Alleviation Fund and other resources to improve the health status of people in the districts with particular focus on reproductive and child health, nutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS and sanitation. The communiqu=E9 called on the Government, district assemblies and other stakeholders to invest in the provision of potable water especially for guinea worm endemic communities.

The Managers urged the Government to expand facilities at health training institutions to increase the intake and output of the institutions and take steps to ensure regular release of funds to facilitate smooth administration of public health programmes. 28 June 05

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