Health indicators in Upper East Region improve

The Upper East Region has recorded tremendous improvement in healthcare delivery and services in 2011 compared to previous years.

This came to light during a Regional Health Sector performance review meeting to take stock of the various areas within the health sector. It had the theme “Repositioning CHPS and community-based health intervention to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four, five and six”.

The review meeting, which is held annually, took stock of the Region’s health sector performances, successes and challenges in meeting health targets in 2011.

Dr Koku Awoonor-Williams, Upper East Regional Director of Health Services in an address noted that the region had adopted the Community-based health delivery and management as the most cost effective and surest way to achieving the desired health goals of the MDGs.

He indicated that the average per capita outpatient visit of 1.42 for the past 3 years had been above the national and regional targets, adding that, Community Health Officers’ (CHOs) contribution to OPD cases increased from five percent in 2009 to 13 percent in 2011.

He said out of a targeted 207 CHPS zones in the region, the number of functional CHPS zones increased from 87 in 2008, 91 in 2009, 96 in 2010 and 120 percent respectively in 2011.

This he noted, was evidence that quality health care was increasingly accessible at community and household levels to over 80 percent of communities.

Mr Awoonor-Williams further noted that, supervised deliveries hit the 67.5 percent mark in 2011 increasing from 52.6 percent in 2009 with a corresponding downward trend in institutional maternal mortality ratio by 140 per 100,000 live births to 153 per 100,000 live births in 2009 and said 89.8 percent of regional population were benefiting from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) coverage.

Touching on disease control, he said case management of malaria improved consistently in under fives malaria case fatality from 1.7 in 2009 to 1.0 in 2011 and the proportion of malaria cases to total OPD cases dropping from 56.6 to 47.7 percent respectively.

He said no Guinea Worm case had been recorded since 2007, adding that, the cure rate of Tuberculosis increased from 77.4 percent in 2008 to 89.4 percent in 2011.

He however expressed dismay about the prevalence of HIV cases in the region and called for collaborative efforts to accelerate the reduction of the virus.

“For the past three years, reports show an upward trend only in the Upper East Region among all the regions in Ghana, with current prevalence rate of 2.4 as against 1.5 percent of national average” he stressed.

The Director mentioned poor sanitation resulting in communicable diseases, inadequate human resources and funding as perennial challenges in the health sector of the region.

Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister commended the Ghana Health Service and its development partners for their efforts in improving health care delivery in the region.

He said the CHPS concept had led to the formation of a national policy on the CHPS, adding that the concept operates consistently by targeting households at the community level with various innovative and cost effective community based health interventions.

He expressed appreciation for local government agencies, chiefs and opinion leaders for collaborating with the sector to set up viable community structures and groups to make quality health service accessible to deprived households and communities.

The Regional Minster however urged them to grant women and children timely access to the services of trained health providers in communities by taking full advantage of the NHIS.

Mr Woyongo assured the GHS of government’s support to the Health Infrastructural improvement initiatives in the region and said the Garu-Tempane district hospital and five other polyclinics would be constructed.

Source: GNA

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