Ghana Exceeds Nurse To Population Target—WHO
Ghana has exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended nurse to population ratio of one nurse to a 1,000 population, recording a ratio of a nurse to 839 people.
This significant improvement is also seen in the country's doctor to patient ratio which currently stands at one doctor to a little over 7,000 population.
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Health Summit in Accra, said the figures were the results of activities deployed to bridge the equity gap that has existed in the health sector for decades.
“We have been able to maintain our performance in childhood immunisation and our coverage in post-natal services is beginning to show an upward trend. Results from survey and institutional sources show significant improvement in maternal and child indicators,” he said.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu, however, stated that the health sector in the year under review failed to perform as expected in some areas.
“Targets for a number of our service indicators were not met. The number of mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies is on a decline.
Hospital bed occupancy is low and average length of stay in emergency wards is unacceptably high. Antibiotic prescriptions at our facilities are relatively high whilst NHIA reimbursement of providers for services rendered is taking longer than expected,” he added.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu observed that the mixed performance was due to a number of challenges, for which a multi-stakeholder approach and strong leadership at all levels are essential.
”Government alone has neither the resources nor skills to undertake all the health initiatives required for us to make the rapid improvement in health service outcome we all yearn for,” he said.
He further indicated that certain areas like data capturing and approach to working with stakeholders would be improved to shore up the gains in the sector.
The Minister of Food & Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who spoke on the theme: 'Ghana's Movement Towards Universal Health Coverage', called for a closer and stronger relationship between the two ministries since the work of both sectors has a bearing on the other.
“The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Food & Agriculture have complementary roles in improving the health of our people and would need to work together,” he said.
According to him, one of the key actions to develop a universal health coverage roadmap is the strengthening of the sector's capacity to deal with disease outbreak and also scale up efforts in nutrition.
“In the area of zoonotic diseases, the two ministries would need to collaborate to avert public health disasters,” he stressed.
He expressed his ministry's readiness to participate actively in the development of the Universal Health Coverage roadmap of the ministry.
“My ministry would like to be fully involved in this plan which the Ministry of Health is developing particularly for the operational level towards the realisation of Universal Health Coverage,” he averred.