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First Lady calls for renewed commitment to beat malaria

The First Lady and Head of the Rebecca Foundation has called for a renewed drive in the battle against malaria.

Whilst applauding the efforts of all stakeholders and individuals in this age-long fight, Rebecca Akufo-Addo believes that a renewed and more vigorous approach in the fight against malaria is urgently required.

She said this at an event to mark this year’s World Malaria Day under the theme, “Ready to beat malaria” in Accra on Wednesday.

The event also witnessed her signing a memorandum on behalf of the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation.

It was co-hosted by the AspirX, Infanta Foundation and Merck around the localized theme, “How best to protect children and pregnant women from malaria infection.”

Delivering her remarks, the First Lady noted that “Ghana has made significant progress in controlling malaria, but there is still more to do. I envision a Ghana, where every child and every woman, is adequately protected or able to test, treat and recover quickly from malaria.

“My message is to call on every one of us in our individual capacities, to do whatever it takes to beat malaria for good.”

According to her, this is a shared vision which was recently shared by President Akufo-Addo recently at the just ended Malaria Summit in London, where he boldly declared that Ghana is ready to beat malaria.

She used the occasion to remind Ghanaians on some of the basic individual efforts such as sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net, using a mosquito repellent and consulting a health worker when you or a family member has symptoms of malaria, to get tested and treated.

“When we do these, we are ready to beat malaria,” she added.

Mrs Akufo-Addo, also called for collective engagement by all, saying, “Whether you are an organisation or an individual, join us and take action this World Malaria Day. Declare you’re ready to beat malaria”.

“We must deepen our partnerships with our health partners, the private sector, civil society organizations, religious and traditional authorities and non-governmental organizations, to build effective systems, to provide accessible services for all.”

She was happy that the Ghana Health Service and partners are improving access to health care, by strengthening the existing Community Based Health System as much of the burden of disease in our country can be prevented, through the effective delivery of health services made possible through CHPS.

Noted for her commitment to the cause of women and children, Mrs Akufo-Addo said to address the high rates of severe under-nutrition and the high incidence of malaria in our population, relationships with Merck and AspirX, offers opportunities to invest in what we believe will make a difference in the lives of women and children.

The First Lady called for increased commitments, partnerships and sustained investments to improve coverage of proven interventions, which benefits women and children.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Ghana to use drone technology for essential health services – Bawumia

The government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a health service provider this week that would enable the country to use drone technology to deliver blood supplies and essential medicines to remote communities by September, this year.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia made the announcement at the opening of the Annual Health Summit organised by the Ministry of Health, in Accra on Monday on the theme: ‘‘Achieving Universal Health Coverage-Using Innovative Approaches’’.

, ‘‘We don’t have to allow our mothers to die because we can’t have blood supplies and essential medicines sent to them,’’ Dr Bawumia said.

He said the system of delivering blood supplies and essential drugs was being implemented in some African countries including; Malawi and Rwanda.

The Vice President said the government was committed to the universal health coverage, noting that government had paid one billion out of the GHc1.2 billion health arrears inherited from the previous government.

Consequently, he said the government had also removed the 17.5 per cent VAT on all essential imported medicines to reduce the cost to medicines, while the abolished nursing trainees’ allowances had been re-instituted to enhance the training of health professionals for the country.

The five-day summit attracted critical health stakeholders and development partners, including; the World Health Organisation, United Nations Population Fund, Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and traditional authorities, to review the performance of the health sector and take decisions that would improve healthcare delivery.

Dr Bawumia said the Government, through the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, had begun the process of procuring ambulances for all the 275 constituencies, which would become part of the national ambulance system to help in the delivery of quality health services.

He said under the Nation’s Builders Corps, which would be launched in May 1, this year, by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo about 10,000 Nurses and health Assistants would be recruited and given contracts up to three years to support the delivery of health services across the country.

Dr Bawumia said the government was fashioning out innovative means to enhancing healthcare financing and expressed optimism that by June this year, it would come out with new financing approaches for sustainable healthcare financing in the country.

In that regard, he asked all identifiable health stakeholders to work towards achieving integrated and optimal health services for the people in consonance with the universal health coverage objectives.

He recalled his recent visit to the Silicon Valley in South Francisco, USA, which saw the IMB’s WATSON using artificial intelligence to analyse integrated database to improve health service delivery and enhanced the productivity of health providers.

He said that it ought to be the future of the country’s health diagnosis, noting it would be feasible if there was available data in the health sector.

Vice President Bawumia said an effective assessment of the health sector that would inform decision making relevant to the sector would require reliable, sustainable and cost-efficient health information systems.

Therefore, he said, the health sector was developing a system that would allow timely availability of reliable data for use at all levels of health service delivery.

‘‘I was informed that the system would make records of patients readily available and the database would be linked to all hospitals in the country making transactions at our hospitals paperless and seamless in patients diagnosis,’’ he said.

Dr Bawumia said maternal health indices were of major importance to any country because they were indicators of the country’s development, saying; ‘‘this is the reason why the government will continue to invest in maternal and child health programmes to minimise the risk of maternal mortality and child mortality from preventable childhood diseases’’.

Vice President Bawumia said although the preliminary results of the recently conducted maternal mortality surveys showed a substantial improvement in indices of health services the fact still remained that there was an unacceptable high number of mothers and children in various health facilities across the country receiving treatment of various ailments and health complications.

He said the country’s health facilities should be places of comfort for mothers when they were in need of health services and not places of imminent danger and threat to their sacred lives.

Dr Bawumia told the gathering that government would review and strengthen health policies, which was aimed at improving access to mothers and children, while exemption policies such as free maternal health delivery, free access for children under 18 years for parents who maintained membership of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

He said providing inhibited access to mothers and children to basic healthcare was the nation’s inter-generational responsibility, saying; ‘‘we must not fail’’

Therefore, he said, it was crucial for any country that was determined to reducing maternal and child mortality to focus on mass skilled birth attendants and health personnel at the point of delivery.

He said the nation’s social policies and interventions must address the limited number of health personnel and logistics in the country’s health sector and, thus, expressed optimism that the conference would come up with recommendations to address health challenges in the country.

Source: adomonline

GHS moves to improve healthcare delivery; Begins a nationwide tour of health facilities

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) Council has begun a nationwide tour of health facilities across the country to learn at first-hand the challenges bedevilling the health sector.

Speaking to the media after the first day of the tour, Director General of the Ghana health service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare assured health workers their concerns would be addressed by the council.

The Council visited four health facilities in the Central Region on the first day of their tour.

The facilities visited include one CHPS compound, one health centre, one district hospital and one regional health facility.

GHS-tour

The Director-General accompanied by the new members of the GHS Council interacted with medical professionals at the facilities visited and outlined plans the Council intends to implement.

Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare says the Ghana health service is poised to achieving quality universal health coverage.

“This is what we are doing as a Council. We want to interact with our people, our staff and to see how our health centres are faring. We want to take advantage of ICT to improve our health delivery system.

‘We want to see the problems they are having. We are hoping that by September ending we will finish touring the entire country,” he said.

Dr Nsiah Asare assured the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will see massive improvement under the new Service Council.

The Council, he indicates, has mapped out a plan to pay outstanding National health insurance claims for health facilities beginning this Thursday, March 29, 2018.

“By the close of work on Thursday, we are taking care of the outstanding bills of health centres. By the end of June will take care of outstanding claims in 2017.

“We will make sure that the lowest levels would not be denied of health insurance claims. We want to increase the gate-keeper mechanism,” he assured.

Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Alexis Nang Beifubah says the government agency will work assiduously to improve the quality of health delivery in the region.

 

Source: myjoyonline

FOCOS Orthopaedic hospital unveils new 16-bed children’s facility

Famed for handling delicate healthcare procedures, specifically spinal and neurological surgeries, the Foundation of Orthopaedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) Hospital, has added on to its state of the art orthopaedic care and education centre, a 16-bed children’s block.

This forms part of plans to provide quality and affordable medical care to its patients.

Established as a non-for-profit organisation to provide comprehensive orthopaedic care to the under-served populations across the African continent, founder of FOCOS hospital Prof. Boachie-Adjei, said progress by the health facility forms part of plans to improve on the health conditions of patients at the centre.

“Another very important milestone and that is the commissioning of the Wayne and Claire Heyland Children’s Pavilion. It is very inspiring and encouraging seeing the progress we are making everyday with the FOCOS Hospital project,” he said.

“We first had a single room for a clinic at the Trust hospital in 1998, then a 4-room house at the Watson clinic in 2004, and subsequently the FOCOS hospital complex with 50 beds in 2012. Now we can boast of a dedicated 16-bed children’s block with an adjoining activity center, which allows our hospitalized patients the opportunity to receive classroom instructions and also engage in recreational and social activities,” he narrated.

In a speech read on behalf of the Deputy Health Minister, Tina Mensah, government said it has always supported private initiatives in specialty care.

“such initiatives…[are] potentially complimentary to the effort of government in providing comprehensive medical care to the populace.”

Brief background of the Centre

Established in 1998 by renowned orthopaedic surgeon Professor Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, the hospital seeks to enhance access to optimal surgical and non-surgical care for patients with disabling musculoskeletal disorders including complex spine deformities and pediatric orthopaedic problems in under-served regions within and outside Ghana.

The facility is also affiliated with the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) based in New York, a position reached in 2014.

Ghanaian born Prof. Boachie-Adjei has special expertise in the treatment of scoliosis, kyphosis and spine reconstruction in both adult and pediatric patients.

He was recognized for his contribution towards orthopaedic healthcare delivery in the world at the “Dream Makers” gala held in August 2017.

Source: Obed Afari Kumi

Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to digitise operations

The management of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) is set to digitise their operations in a bid to enhance health delivery at the facility.

Chief Executive of the Hospital, Dr Felix Anyaa told Joy News a new software has been introduced to fast-track administrative work.

According to him, the software will improve the doctor-patient relation, bed management, maintenance and the handling of emergency cases at the hospital.

He said with a linkage between the emergency department as well as all other departments, the hospital will go a long way to check its revenue flow.

“The beds and emergency units are not the only things we need for our emergency department, there should be a software linking the two.

“If we have a software linking the whole hospital you would know how much money you are making,” he said.

Dr Felix Anyaa

In 2014, an audit by the Ghana Audit Service and intercepted by Joy News revealed various financial malfeasance by the former managers, landing Ghana’s premier hospital in serious financial crisis.

According to the report, some former managers caused a loss of GH¢118,461.04 to the hospital.

But Dr Anyaa said this and other such practices will be a thing of the past as the software will give him and the Director of Finance real-time access to what revenue the hospital is making at any time.

“In any place, we should be able to monitor. So, we did that software to be in control so that you can be able to track, make projections and block leakages,” he said.

The KBTH CEO added that with such a software, it will help in beds allocation at any given time to forestall situations where patients are turned away when there might be empty beds.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Hunger Project Ghana pumps €285,000 into maternal health

The Hunger Project Ghana, in line with its social transformation and leverage principle to improve the living conditions of vulnerable people in rural communities, is investing a total of 285,000 Euros in maternal and child health.

Under its Maternal and Child Health Improvement Project with funding from Else Kroner Fresenius Stiftung, capacities of community health nurses in 15 epicentres of the Hunger Project would be upgraded to provide maternal health services and delivery.

The project would equip the 15 epicentres located in rural communities in the Eastern, Volta and Central Regions with modern equipment to provide timely and efficient maternal healthcare services to rural dwellers.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency at the opening of a training workshop for Community Nurses and other participants in Koforidua, on Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), the Country Director, Mr Samuel Afranie, noted the training was to complement the effort of the Ghana Health Service.

He said in order to provide full access to quality maternal healthcare, the project’s focus was to train the community health nurses to provide the needed services in maternal health care and reduce maternal mortalities.

Mr Afranie noted the Hunger Project was in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in implementing a “task-sharing’ programme to build the capacities of community health nurses.

The epicentres are Community Health and Planning Services (CHPS) compounds built by the Hunger Project in rural parts of the country.

It has constructed 60 epicentres in the country, with 13 in the Eastern region and one each in the Volta and the Central Regions.

The Country Director said the project was focusing on the 15 epicentres in the three regions and expressed the hope that the remaining 45 epicentres would be covered.

Mrs Stephanie Ashley, Coordinator of the Maternal Health and Child Improvement Project, said the IYCF was a component of training community health nurses to enable them to offer comprehensive maternal and child care services in their respective communities.

She said the participants would be trained on how to counsel mothers on the complementary baby feeding, food nutrition, home visits and how to use community monitoring tools to improve on nutrition in communities.

Jobless veterinary doctors give gov’t 1-month ultimatum

The Association of Junior Veterinary Surgeons has given government a one month ultimatum to begin the process of engaging them.

Currently, about fifty two veterinary doctors are unemployed due to government’s inability to absorb them into the system since 2016.

According to the President of the Association, Dr. Kwasi Agyei Safo, their role in contributing to the success of the agriculture sector has been undermined.

He told Citi News they will resort to other means to express their displeasure if government fails to address their concerns.

“We finished our housemanship in August 2016 and we are home…We have not been employed. The second batch has also finished in August 2017, but they have not been paid their housemanship salary let alone being employed. The third batch is yet to finish this August so the whole programme is an avalanche of issues that need to be taken care of by government and the Ministry as a whole.

“We have exhausted all diplomatic means talking to our veterinary doctors, talking to the Minister of Agriculture so the next option was to petition the President so we have petitioned the President. What I understand is that government does not see the implication of the process in our society because they think our job is to go and treat animals and come home.”

‘We need employment’

In 2017, some trained veterinary doctors in the country similarly demanded immediate employment from the government.

The doctors had also issued a month’s ultimatum to the government, threatening that they may take legal action if the government fails to meet their demand.

One of the affected doctors, Dr. Emmanuel Kodua, had said all efforts to get the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to address the concerns had been unsuccessful.

“What we are demanding is that, for the first and second batch, we need employment… We have not been given our appointment letters. Meanwhile, we have finished our National Service and even we have sent our report to the registrar as he requested.”

“As we speak now, two batches are in the house; they’ve not been posted, and the third batch is doing their housemanship now, but they have not been served their appointment letters but have been asked to do their housemanship, so they are also demanding their appointment letters,” he said.

Graduate Nurses demand employment

The Veterinary doctors’ plea follows protests by some graduate nurses who were asking government to employ them.

The about 200 graduates who picketed at the Ministry on Monday, said several appeals to the Ministry of Health to engage them after they completed school in 2016, had not yielded results.

Some of the nurses were clad in red and wielded placards with messages that urged government to immediately address their concerns.

The aggrieved students were prepared to spend the night at the Ministry if authorities failed to post them, but they were dispersed by police personnel, only to return to the Ministry the next day.

By: Marian Ansah & Zoe Abu Baidoo/citifmonline.com/Ghana

‘More blood’: National Blood Service appeals for donors

The National Blood Service, Ghana (NBSG) on Wednesday said it was unable to reach its 50 per cent target of Voluntary Unpaid Blood Donation across the country in 2017.

Dr Justina K Ansah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NBSG said the service was able to achieve only 36 out of the 50 per cent target for voluntary blood donations nationwide.

There was however a slight increase in percentages regarding donations recorded in the Area Blood Centres, from 55 per cent in 2016, to 59 per cent in 2017, out of the target of 70 per cent, while the Increase Blood Collection Index (BCI) per 1,000 population also stood at 6.1 per cent, failing to meet the target of 6.5 per cent in the year under review.

Dr Ansah, who was speaking at the 2017 annual performance review of the NBSG in Accra, admitted that currently the Service was faced with the huge challenge of inadequate blood stock, and urged the public to consider it their civic responsibility to donate voluntarily to change the status quo.

“We need only one per cent of the population of Ghana to voluntarily donate on regular basis and the NBSG would be able to collect sustainable blood stock in all the types to save lives,” he said.

The annual performance review on the theme; “Partnership for 100 per cent Voluntary Unpaid Blood Donation in Ghana,” was to among other objectives, galvanise stakeholder support in enhancing the stock of the commodity, to maintain a sustainable and safe blood supply service to meet the increasing needs of the country.

It further created a platform for stakeholders to access the status of blood services in Ghana, to adopt specific corporate objectives, action plans and strategies for the way forward in 2018.

Dr Ansah said although the Service had improved on its strategies to get more Voluntary Unpaid Blood donors, the percentages had dropped to worrying levels, and explained that the family replacement system was just a stop gap measure, which the service was moving away from.

She said this has accounted for the constant shortages, hence the need to ensure 100 per cent voluntary donations to ensure sustainable supply throughout the country.

She said the perennial blood supply shortages across the country constituted a serious worry, not only to the service, but to all other areas of the health sector.

She attributed the current absence of the spirit of volunteerism among Ghanaians as the major cause, as people still did not see the need to engage in voluntary blood donations to help save lives.

According to her, “not everybody could donate, for this reason the need to partner, as one of the strategies, and everybody playing their role in this regard to ensure the safe supply of blood and its related products.

“We need to make blood available in all the blood groups, so people must donate since blood donated has a shelf life of only 35 days and therefore the need to donate often”.

Dr Ansah said the NBSG would maintain the 2017 target of achieving 70 per cent Voluntary Unpaid Blood donations for 2018.

She said the service would move forward, strengthen partnership with all stakeholders, step-up public education, improve staff capacities to enhance the operations of the service and push for the parliamentary approval of a legal framework to back the current Blood Policy, to aid activities of the blood services.

The Service, she said, was also in talks with the requisite authorities to consider the decoupling of blood supply services, explaining that, currently all such costs were added to the bills of patients that were paid directly to the health facilities, and this has accounted for the indebtedness of the NBSG.

Dr Anastasia Yirenkyi, the Acting Director of the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate, Ministry of Health, representing the Minister, commended the efforts of the NBSG and its partners for the work done so far to save the lives of Ghanaians.

She said despite the numerous contributions and impacts that the Service had made in achieving progress towards addressing the health needs of Ghanaians, there were still some major challenges and therefore the need to join forces and improve upon the collection of blood in all the groups to save more lives.

Dr Yirenkyi said since life was dependent on the quality as well as the quantity of blood being circulated in the human body, the consequences, when standards were lowered, could spell doom for the health of patients.

She said government was committed to provide the necessary logistics and essential human resources, as well as funding, to ensure the achievement of the target of 100 per cent Voluntary Unpaid Blood donation.

The Ministry of Health, she said, would further ensure that the bill was presented to parliament for approval, to give a legislative backing to the current Blood Policy, to ensure the smooth administration of blood services and activities.

Source: GNA

Stop picketing; we’ll employ 32,000 nurses this year – Gov’t

Government has told graduate nurses to stop picketing at the Health Ministry as plans are far advanced to employ them this year, 2018.

Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, at a news conference on today [Tuesday], said the Finance Ministry has given clearance for them to be employed. He however did not state specifically which month they will be engaged.

“This year, government is employing 32,000 health professionals, and out of that 27,000 are nurses. The 32,000 are graduates from 2014 to 2016, who are going to be employed, these are people who were left unattended to by the previous administration and we are going to employ them.”

This comes after a new group of graduate nurses picketed at the Ministry of Health asking to be employed by government.

Picketing at the Health Ministry to demand employment has become a common phenomenon for various health professionals in the country especially in the last three (3) years.

The about 200 graduates who picketed at the Ministry on Monday say several appeals to the Ministry of Health to engage them after they completed school in 2016, have not yielded results.

Some of the nurses were clad in red and wielded placards with messages that urged government to immediately address their concerns.

The aggrieved students were prepared to spend the night at the Ministry if authorities failed to post them, but they were dispersed by police personnel, only to return to the Ministry today [Tuesday].

Last week, another group of bonded unemployed nurses and midwives staged a protest at the Ministry of Health to demand posting.

They said they have been idling at home for the past two years after successfully leaving school and completing their mandatory national service.

But Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid at the press conference said the picketing must stop because the Health Ministry will soon be posting them.

“Once the paper works are done, the Health Ministry will begin to post them across the country.”

Source: citifmonline.com

Scientists demand policy to tackle obesity

Scientists are advocating a national policy to tackle overweight and obesity among Ghanaians.

Principal Investigator of Researching Obesogenic Food Environments says the situation requires urgent action for healthy food environment.

Dr. Reginald Ajetey Annan spoke at a collaborative research workshop in Kumasi.

A 2016 study in Ghana shows 99 percent of households depend on traditional markets to source their food, including processed.

Preference is attributed to greater variety, lower price and proximity.

The researchers stress need for interventions to ensure local markets stock a variety of fresh, rather than processed foods to promote health.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly two billion adults across the globe were estimated to be overweight in 2014.

Studies conducted between 1998-2016 show 43 percent of Ghanaian adults are found to be obese.

Health professionals say obesity is an important risk factor for diabetes, high blood pressure and other non-communicable diseases.

Preliminary findings suggest Ghana’s environment is flooded with foods that increase the risk of obesity and associated complications.

“Policy is important because the food environment is also driven by trade and trade policy determines what is available,” he said.

“If the turkey tail [ban] example has worked it means other policies can be put in place to tackle foods that are high in sugar, salt, fat etc,” he added.

Researching Obesogenic Food environments is a 3-year joint study between Ghana and South Africa.

Funded by International Development Research Centre, it seeks to understand changing nature of food marketed in poor communities in both countries.

Drivers of these changes and the potential lift available to improve the healthiness of local food market are among the objectives.

The second phase of the programme will focus on retail energy and value chain governance.

“This will culminate in the third phase which will analyze governance and political economy and identify policy opportunities,” said Prof. Rina Swart of the University of Western Cape.

 

Source: myjoyonline

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