Abuakwa (Ash), March 2, GNA - Baffour Osei Hyeaman Brentuo, Asantehene's Manwerehene, on Wednesday urged the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to take up a leadership role in ensuring a clean environment in the country.
He said without the serious and active involvement of the GHS in environmental cleanliness it would continue to churn out high statistics on diseases, which could have been prevented or controlled through proper sanitation.
"Ghana has a serious sanitation problem, culminating in the filth that has engulfed the country. The atmosphere has been choked with dust particles, while choked gutters emit foul stench in the cities and urban areas affecting the health of the people," he added. Baffour Brentuo made the call when addressing the opening session of a three-day performance review meeting of the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate at Abuakwa in the Atwima-Nwabiagya District. He expressed concern about the proliferation of fake drugs on the Ghanaian market that were being advertised through the media by people who knew nothing about the products they were advertising. Asantehene's Manwerehene said the situation was dangerous to the nation's health care delivery and charged the GHS to live up to its responsibilities.
Dr Kofi Asare, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, reviewing the Region's performance for last year, said Out-Patient Department attendance recorded 1,663,180 patients; an increase of 11 per cent over 2004 but the per capita remained at 0.5 per cent. Admissions to health facilities totalled 116,444, an increase of 2.1 per cent over 2004. Out of the figure, 75,091 were women while 41,353 were men.
Dr Asare said malaria continued to top attendances at health facilities recording 23,475 malaria admissions last year as against 21,394 in 2004.
Pregnancy related cases accounted for 5,473 last year, as against 4,929 cases in 2004 while anaemia cases were 5,391 last year as against 4,351 in 2004.
The Regional Director of Health Services said 248 people died through malaria last year as against 309 in 2004, while anaemia accounted for 134 deaths last year, with the previous year registering 214 deaths.
Pneumonia, he said killed 120 people last year as against 156 in 2004, while HIV/AIDS accounted for 92 deaths in 2005 as against 88 in 2004.
"HIV/AIDS moved from the sixth position in 2004 to the fourth position last year on the list of diseases recorded for high rate of deaths," he added.
Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, said Government's policy on health was to make it accessible in terms of cost and distance. "The poverty level of our people is so high that much effort is needed to achieve this feat. The National Health Insurance Scheme has come to stay and it is the duty of all and sundry to ensure its success."
He challenged health personnel to accept the scheme as their baby to be nurtured and its success would be their responsibility. Mr Boafo said enough funds, energy and other resources had been channelled into the implementation of the scheme adding: "The Government cannot afford to lose all these resources for any reason."