The annual Health Summit, organised by the Ministry of Health, has begun in Accra. The three-day summit, which is on the theme: “Ghana’s Movement Towards Universal Health Coverage”, would review the performance of the health sector in the implementation of the 2018 Programme of Work.

Addressing participants, the Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu underlined the need to reinvigorate the Primary Health Care (PHC) system through the empowerment of the people and communities to undertake basic health promotive initiatives to enhance their health, since PHC has been identified by the WHO as the vehicle for delivering the Universal Health Coverage.

This, he said, should be done through strengthening health service integration with essential public health functions as its core, and strengthening governance at the district and sub-district levels by enhancing multi-sectoral policy and action to ensure that relevant determinants of health are appropriately tackled, taking into consideration the local context.

The Minister said the implementation of the Ministry’s flagship Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) was progression according to expectation.

Hon. Agyeman-Manu disclosed that preliminary reports of the Multiple Indicator Cluster and the Maternal Mortality Surveys conducted in 2017 shows that the sector has recorded significant performance in some areas.

He said the Ministry’s efforts at bridging the equity gap that has existed for decades are beginning to yield some results, adding that “Our doctor/population and nurse/population ratios have shown significant improvements. Using only nurses from the public sector, Ghana has exceeded the World Health Organization recommended nurse to population ratio of 1 nurse to 1,000 population”.

The Health Minister also revealed that the sector was able to maintain its performance in childhood immunization, and coverage in postnatal services is beginning to show an upward trend. Results from the survey and institutional sources show significant improvement in Maternal and Child Indicators.

However, there were indications that performance in some areas for the year did not meet the expectations of the Ministry. This was due to unmet targets for a number of its service indicators.

These areas, he said, included the decline in the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies, low hospital bed occupancy and the average length of stay in emergency wards was unacceptably high.

The mixed performance, according to the Minister, could be attributed to a number of challenges which require a multi-stakeholder approach and strong leadership at all levels. “We will need to work with leaders from business, academia, NGOs and the media in the same way we work with our Development Partners”.

The Minister for Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who was the special guest of honour, said the Universal Health Coverage Roadmap, being developed by the Ministry of Health, would be an important activity to chart the path and create a compass for the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage.

He expressed his Ministry’s willingness to be fully involved in the plan, which the Ministry of Health is developing particularly, for the operational level towards the realization of Universal Health Coverage.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto pledged that his Ministry will participate in implementing of the National Health Policy, which was yet to be launched. This, according to the Minister for Agriculture, was to ensure that cross-sectoral issues that affect both ministries were brought to the fore for discussion and appropriate solutions found.

In his welcome address, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Nana Kwabena Adjei-Mensah, said the theme for the Summit is appropriate since Ghana as part of the international community cannot afford to be left behind in the provision of quality, affordable and accessible health care services for all its people.

He said UHC is one of the defining new strategic thrusts in global health, and progress in achieving UHC is fundamental for the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and perhaps more importantly, progress on the path of national development.

 

Source: MOH PR