Cape Coast, Oct. 12, GNA - The Central Region branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate in enhancing health care delivery in the region, in Cape Coast.
The MOU, which forms part of EC/UNFPA/GOG funded projects on strengthening of Community-Based Reproductive Health Services (CBRHS), was signed by Mr Robert Eshun and Dr Aaron Offei, of the GPRTU and GHS respectively and witnessed by the Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze. The MOU was reached, when at a series of meetings between the GHS and GPRTU, it became necessary to map out strategies to improve on the referral system of health care services within communities in the region.
The MOU, which is to take immediate effect, is primarily geared towards the reduction of child morbidity and maternal mortality, stipulates that drivers are to ensure the prompt transportation of emergency cases, and the union to bear the cost of transportation, if relatives fail to pay.
It is also to ensure that nurses in queues are promptly picked up to work, owners of taxi-cabs release their cars to transport emergency cases on request, and the reduction of lorry fares charged during outreach services by staff of the GHS. The agreement, in turn, expects the GHS to treat drivers, who visit the hospital with due care, and also cautions GHS to refrain from rudeness to clients, while the police are advised to be cautious in order not to interfere, while emergency cases are being transported, and warns of sanctioning of drivers, who refuse to take emergency cases to the hospital.
In an address, Mr Edumadze, stated that delay in the transportation of emergency cases was one of the major factors accounting for high maternal mortality rates in the region, and therefore commended GPRTU for their willingness to support in the referral system.
He reiterated that no one institution could single-handedly address the numerous problems confronting the health sector, and that the solution to this problem required closer collaboration among all stakeholders.
The Regional Minister said, the GHS in realizing the significance of collaborative efforts, was organizing workshops on collaboration between its officials and all the district assemblies, and therefore, commended the GHS for its effort.
He expressed the hope that all the parties would fulfil their part of the agreement, so that together, "we will improve the health status of the people in the region.
Mr Edumadze echoed concerns at the numerous loss of lives through road accidents and stated that, if nothing concrete was done, the "nation would lose worthy citizens needed for its development". He, in this regard, repeated calls on the officials of the GPRTU to educate its members on the need to adhere to road safety regulation to stem the tide.
Dr Jean Claude Javet, global co-ordinator, EC/ACP/UNFPA/RH programme based in New York said every minute a woman dies out of obstetric complications and that over 500,000 women die every year out of child-birth related and pregnancy complications and said the CBRHS programme in the region was being funded with 2.1 million dollars. Mr Matthew Ahwireng, Health Promotion Officer at the regional health directorate, advised people to refrain from taking their sick people to prayer camps for treatment, since it was only at the designated health facilities their sicknesses could be treated. He gave an instance at Asuansi, near Abura Dunkwa, where a woman took her child, who was attacked by convulsion for treatment only for the child to die out of an ailment, which could have been cured in a hospital.
In a welcoming address, Dr Offei, said even though the programme was currently focusing on women and children, everybody in the region would benefit from it, when properly implemented. He said the programme was between the GHS and the people of the region, and when it became successful, the people of the region could be proud to be part of the success story.