Ghana risks missing some MDGs by 2015 – Study

Ghana risks missing some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and targets in 2015, a study jointly conducted by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service (GHS) has revealed.

The study identified certain bottlenecks and organisational weaknesses, which include the absence of integration of programmes and general health service financial resources at national levels even though they provide a good balance.

There also exist weak community participation in health planning and management, increasing sense of frustration and neglect on the side of volunteers and lack of awareness, appreciation and tapping of what lay knowledge and skills could contribute to health services, undermine satisfactory implementation in both districts.

The study, which was to ascertain why the progress towards achieving higher rates of child survival, maternal health and reduced disease burdens within the African sub-region has been very slow, recommended improved implementation of High Impact Interventions (HII) through training and appropriate decentralisation of service delivery platform.

It indicated that unless urgent and systematic efforts were put in place to identify and remove significant bottlenecks hindering the effective and satisfactory implementation of MDGs 1,4,5,6 and 7-related High Impact Interventions (HII) nation-wide the targets, could not be achieved.

Dr Placido M. Cardoso, Director General, West African Health Organisation (WAHO), revealed these in an address read for him at a two-day national dissemination workshop on a study on health services delivery on the implementation of High Impact Interventions (HII) in the West African Sub-region.

He indicated that progress made so far was inadequate in almost all ECOWAS member states and Ghana required urgent system-wide and intervention specific action to remove the bottlenecks and weaknesses to put the nation on a firm course to achieve the health-related MDGs and targets in 2015.

Dr Cardoso stressed that the fast approaching deadline of the MDGs required all countries and development partners to increase efforts especially within their communities towards attaining the set goals by 2015.

Dr Cardoso said the study recommended that enabling national health policy context needed either to be aligned to a flexible funding mechanism for district level implementation or supported by district leaders with improved financial management capacity that would equip them to exploit the financial decision space available to them and manage systematically.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Health in an address read on his behalf stressed the need for the health sector to intensify its interventions on areas such as maternal and child health as well as disease burden.

He called for the strengthening of inter-sectoral collaboration as well as regional institutions to make them more effective, and appealed to health sector workers to work harder and exhibit a high sense of professionalism with focuses on mother and child survival.

Dr Gunter Boussery, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with UNICEF, WCARO in Dakar, Senegal, said notwithstanding the introduction of HII into West and Central Africa, the epidemiological situation remained precarious, effective coverage remained low, hence the risk of not achieving the health related MDGs.

He said straightening the nation’s health systems must be through a strategic and operational planning of evidence-based health interventions.

Dr Boussery said the study focused on Hohoe District in the Volta Region and Akuapim North District in the Eastern Region.

He said the study recognised that national health policy, district health management and peripheral levels of health system should provide the enabling contexts for satisfactory HII implementation.

In addition, he said urgent system-wide and intervention specific actions were required to remove the bottlenecks and weaknesses to put Ghana on a firm course to achieve the health-related MDGs.

Source: GNA

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