By Christabel Addo, GNA
Accra, Dec.17, GNA- The Ministry of Health (MOH) with support from its partners, has launched and disseminated Ghana’s Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH&N) Strategic Plan on for 2020-2025 in Accra.
The five-year strategic plan is designed to provide direction to health and relevant non-health stakeholders towards ending preventable deaths of women, newborn, children and adolescents.
Mrs Gifty Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, Deputy Minister of Health, who launched the document for onward dissemination, commended the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and all the key partners for improving upon the country’s health care delivery system.
She said the Service was doing its best to ensure a healthy population and charged the citizenry to play their role, especially in the observance of safety protocols against the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General, Ghana Health Service, earlier in his welcoming address, raised some key issues including the gains that were being made in areas such as improved antenatal and postnatal coverage, reduction in low birth weight, as well as in maternal death audit.
He stated that despite the gains made, maternal mortality and still birth rates remained high, while data on Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) showed major nutritional deficiencies in infants and children under-five years.
The Director-General said the health implications of the nutritional deficiencies in children were varied, and posed great danger to, especially the cognitive and respiratory tract system while stunting and anaemia could also result from the lack of the required nourishment for foundational development of people.
Mr Kuma-Aboagye said the integration of all the works of stakeholders, should be central to the implementation of the Strategic Plan, without which resources could not be economised, or the vision of quality health care for all, be achieved.
Professor Richard Adanu, the Consultant for the document development, in an overview of the Strategic Plan, called for increased advocacy for the extension of maternity leave period for working mothers, to ensure adequate period for EBF of babies.
On maternal mortality ratio, he recommended that more work should be done to improve data on the quality of care, saying although adequate, there seemed to be enough coverage on services, compared to the latter.
Dr Kofi Issah, Director, Family Health Division, GHS, also called for the need to strengthen the sub-districts, which had been a major conversation on all stakeholder platforms, saying, achieving more progress in health sector interventions, required that those at the very bottom of the implementation levels of the policies were strengthened.
He announced the development of the “Health Aging and Nutrition” programme, which he said would be beneficial to all, and added that the GHS Council, had given approval for it to be established as a Department within the FHD, to change the perception of aging among Ghanaians.
Ms Anne Claire Duffay, the UNICEF Country Representative, who spoke on behalf of the development partners, commended the Government of Ghana for the integrative nature of the interventions being embarked upon, especially on the RMNCAH&N.
She made it clear that capacity building through effective training, and getting the right equipment in place for health facilities could make a big difference in the expected outcomes.
She gave a vivid picture of how some 31 children in the Upper West Region had their health enhanced because the staff had been given the right training and equipment to work with.
Ms Duffay commended the MOH, GHS and all the partners, for the continuity of care even in the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.