Early Childhood Nutrition Is Best Investment- First Lady
Investing in the nutrition and health, especially of children and mothers, is not only the best investment a country can make to enhance economic growth but also to eliminate extreme poverty and reduce inequality, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has said.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, who is a strong advocate for maternal and child health, opined that as Ghana made gains in child survival, so also should duty bearers ensure that the children thrive.
“Every Ghanaian child must not only survive, but be provided everything needed to ensure their total physical, emotional and cognitive development,” she disclosed.
The first lady bemoaned the fact that “a large number of children, young adolescents and women continue to die or live with disabilities mostly from preventable causes” and called for more work to be done through increased collaboration among key stakeholders in the health sector to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
She made the call at the maiden edition of the Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) conference themed: 'Strengthening Partnership For Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Reproductive, Maternal Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health & Nutrition'
The three-day conference is expected to provide a platform for an update of the country's health sector that addresses issues on maternal and child health and nutrition, show case best practices and share new knowledge on policies and innovations.
It will also focus on reviewing and discussing key issues related to strengthening implementation of on-going and routine interventions as well as provide a basis for discussions with partners to identify areas where each partner will best contribute to advancing the common agenda.
According to Mrs Akufo-Addo, working with two foundations—The Rebecca Foundation and the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation— has emphasized the importance of building partnerships and coalitions.
“I am, therefore, glad that both the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation and The Rebecca Foundation are part of a community of organisations with a shared objective of achieving universal health coverage in reproductive, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition,” she mentioned.
Mrs Akufo-Addo charged the participants to begin to be mindful of the fact that health service delivery must be client-centered.
In his remarks, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu explained that Ghana's maternal and child health has appreciated over the years due to increase in access and quality of health services, particularly for mothers, children and adolescents.
He, nonetheless, expressed dissatisfaction at the prevailing levels of maternal and child illness and deaths, which according to him, are just too high and in most cases preventable.
Mr Agyeman-Manu emphasized government's commitment to ensuring a robust health insurance system developing and implementing policies such as the free maternal healthcare services to benefit women and children at large.
“The government will continue to make it a priority and will remain committed to this cause and continue to commit resources,” he reassured.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri