Ghana government asked to stop political fun fare with health care delivery

The political fun fare being given to quality health care delivery in Ghana should stop, health experts, and civil society groups, demanded at a day’s national forum on maternal death in Accra on Wednesday.

They said currently, the difficulty Ghana finds herself in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as goals four, five and six, was because government has not been tackling the issues head-on, but was scratching the surface.

“Let’s stop paying lip service to maternal mortality and make training of health personnel a national priority. If it has to be death in the hospital, let it be that the doctors and nurses do their utmost best…”, Mrs Elizabeth Vaah, a participant said.

Goals four, five and six are reducing child mortality by two-thirds, reducing maternal mortality by three quarters and halting and reversing HIV/AIDs, malaria and other major infectious diseases respectively.

The Forum was organized by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), an advocacy group for the reproductive rights of the poor, in collaboration with Health Platform, to further inspire action among stakeholders in the sector towards improving maternal health in the country.

It forms part of activities in Ghana to mark this year’s Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty celebration, which saw the launch of Civil Society Organisation’s Heath MDGs Monitoring Report by ARHR.

Dr Jehu Appiah, Country Director of Ipas, an organization that protects women’s health, said: “The problem is a system that Ghana does not have…Let us build a system that we can get even targets for ourselves.”

He said: “we must come to a point where our concern should not be hitting the 75 per cent mark of maternal health, prescribed by the MDGs, but aspire for zero tolerance of death for our mothers and babies.”

The participants underscored the critical role that health regulatory bodies ought to play in promoting quality health care services.

The role of private midwifery and traditional birth attendants were also highlighted by the participants, majority of whom were of the view that the services these people provide should not be downplayed.

Mrs Vicky Okine, Executive Director of ARHR, said though Ghana Government had made significant gains regarding the introduction of measures such as free maternal health care for pregnant women, hundreds of people still did not get any health care at all because there were no accessible health centres where they live or health care services were too costly.

“Many people pay with their lives as health care is simply too expensive. These user fees punish the poor, healthcare should be a basic human right, not something exclusive for those who can afford to pay.

“If free health care had been globally introduced in 2000, when the MDGs were set, over two and half million children’s lives could have been saved by now,” she said.

Source: GNA

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