Ghanaians have been urged to take advantage of the preventive services being offered by the various health institutions and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to maintain high standards of wellness.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, who gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said it was the hope of the GHS that the health status of Ghanaians would improve considerably.
This was because Ghana aimed to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), at least at the primary care level by 2020.
He, however, insisted that ensuring good health was a shared responsibility of the individual and the GHS and urged people to make deliberate efforts to live healthy lives by submitting themselves for regular checkups.
This would ensure early detection, diagnoses and treatment of diseases, especially Non-Communicable ones like diabetes and cancers.
Dr Nsiah-Asare, giving highlights on some priority areas of focus in 2019 in his goodwill message to Ghanaians for the New Year, said it was the hope of the GHS that people would take advantage of the various preventive services, especially for children, through the extensive immunisation services.
Women in child bearing age should visit the Maternal and Child Health clinics and during pregnancy must at least visit the ante-natal not less than four times.
'It is also hoped that they would also take advantage of the skilled delivery services offered in these facilities, and stop patronising the services of unskilled ones, to help cut down on maternal, neonatal and child mortality.
'Once we are able to do that we would be heading towards the achievement of some of the goals under the UHC,' he said.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the GHS would be focusing on good nutrition as a key intervention measure towards the increasing poor health of Ghanaians, saying plans were advanced to elevate the Health Promotion Department into a Division.
This would help strengthen their activities to intensify preventive health programmes at Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) zones, regional and teaching hospitals, and to also reduce road accidents.
The Director-General further spoke about the good sides of the digital platform for the renewal of the National Health Insurance, which was launched in December 2018, saying it is now convenient for clients, hence people must take advantage of the service to eliminate the financial problems of funding their healthcare needs.
He said the GHS would, in 2019, double its efforts towards the elimination of HIV and AIDS, by ensuring that persons diagnosed with the infection were immediately put on Anti-retroviral Therapy and intensify the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission to curb its progression and spread.
He, therefore, encouraged the public to go for voluntary testing in order to know their HIV status and, thereafter, adhere to preventive counselling to avoid being infected.
'HIV is just like any other the disease such as malaria or diabetes which can be managed for a person to live a normal life. Do not be afraid to be tested, but make yourselves available, by taking advantage of all these services being offered at health facilities, CHPS, health centres for better healthcare,' he said.
Dr Nsiah-Asare, however, entreated faith homes, shrines, and prophets not to keep vulnerable or sick persons in their custody until their conditions worsen, but must allow the professionals to take charge of their treatment.
He wished all GHS Staff a Happy and Prosperous New Year and urged them to remain companions to their patients and provide care with smiles on their faces to enhance their clients' healing process.
He said the current heat levels were catalysts for meningitis, especially in the Northern and upper parts of the Brong Ahafo and the Volta regions and advised that people should try and avoid overcrowding, and anybody with signs and symptoms such as fever, headaches and neck pains to the any health facilities.