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22.02.2006 Health

Reduction on budgetary allocation to health will affect MDGs


Cape Coast, Feb.21, GNA - Dr Aaron Offei, Central Regional Director of Health Services, on Tuesday, expressed concern about the reduction of budgetary allocation to the health sector by the Government and donor agencies.

He noted that this could affect attainment of objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Dr Offei, was addressing the opening session of a three-day Annual Review Conference of the Central Regional Health Directorate on the theme "Strengthening quality health service towards achieving Millennium Development Goals," at Cape Coast.

The Conference was to enable the directorate share achievements, constraints and challenges with stakeholders, define gaps in service delivery, exchange ideas on best practices and the way forward. He said the region received about 21,994,449,927 cedis from the Government and donors in 2005, as against 28,501,497,534 cedis in 2004, representing a 25 per cent reduction.

Dr Offei said this affected service delivery since the MDGs were largely concerned with health.

However, he said the directorate was determined to fulfil its mission statement on safe motherhood.

The Regional Director of Health Services, announced that maternal mortality rates, had been declining due to effective measures instituted and had been targeted to reduce from 1.04 per 1,000 live births in 2005, to 0.81 by the end of the year.

He also announced a reduction in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases, which had reduced from 923 in 2004 to 535 last year, and appealed to stakeholders to assist ensure further reduction of HIV/AIDS cases. Dr Offei commended health workers in the region for their hard work, but warned them against complacency.

On the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr Offei, was happy that the scheme, "which started sluggishly in the region", had picked up.

He said it had become operational in all the 13 districts in the region with a membership of 410,220 and total premium of 1.5 billion cedis, and therefore, encouraged all and sundry to register. Dr Offei said problems facing health care delivery in the region were, lack of a physician and a paediatrician at the regional hospital, while lack of accommodation had prevented some junior doctors with the desire to work in the region.

He said 30 health personnel in the region benefited from the Government's hire purchase car allocation last year, and more of them were expected to benefit this year.

Mr Isaac Edumadze, Central Regional Minister, appealed to Ghanaians to adopt healthy lifestyles to complement Government's efforts to ensure quality health care.

Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area, urged the participants to strategise to help address challenges facing health care delivery in the region.