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02.02.2006 Health

Incidence of Hepatitis 'B' is a major health problem in Upper West


Wa, Feb.02, GNA - Hepatitis 'B' has become a major health problem in the Upper West Region with 18.5 per cent of people screened within the region during the first half of last year having contracted the disease.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Upper West Regional Minister who disclosed this, said although the disease was preventable the vaccine was too expensive for most of the people to afford.

He, therefore, appealed to Ghana's development partners and donor agencies to assist with vaccines to prevent a catastrophe in the region. Mr Dery was speaking at a meeting between the Regional Coordinating Council, the Regional Health Committee, Health Managers and other stakeholders in the region to deliberate on pertinent issues affecting health delivery in the region.

The meeting offered a platform for them to share ideas, experiences and concerns and came out with measures that would improve health care, with the National Health Insurance Scheme and the Community Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) as the focus.

Mr Dery announced that UNICEF had in response to the plight of the region made available 790 million cedis through the Ministry of Health to assist in child health issues this year.

The organization in addition, supplied 50,000 insecticide treated bed nets for distribution to children under five years and pregnant women last year and provided funds to provide services on integrated management of childhood illnesses.

Professor Agyemang Badu Akosah, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service urged District Assemblies to embrace the CHPS concept, which had been developed by the GHS to promote good health within the communities, and factor it into the mainstream of their development programmes.

He noted that 40 per cent of the chronic malnutrition rate among children in the three northern regions as compared to the national average of 22 per cent was too high and advised District Chief Executives in the area to support in addressing the problem. The Director-General said investing in the CHPS programme, the assemblies would assist to reduce the country's 11.1 per cent child mortality rate and guarantee the lives of pregnant mothers and adults in remote communities.

He warned that any District Director of Health Service who failed to cooperate with any District Chief Executive or could not work with them would be removed.

Dr Erasmus Agongo, Upper West Regional Director of Health Service said there were 21 fully functional CHPS compounds in the region with nine under construction.

He said the Catholic Relief Services was supporting four CHPS zones with 10,000 dollars to construct CHPS compounds.