Slow progress in child health care in Ghana – GHS
She said statistics indicated that as at 2011 for every 1,000 births, 320 of the new-born died, and expressed the need for Ghana to implement Global Action Plan to improve child health.
The Global Action Plan is a World Health Organization’s strategy that focuses attention on new-born health, identifying actions for their survival, health and development.
Dr Sagoe-Moses made the remarks when she made a presentation on the current situation of new-born health in Ghana at the second Annual Stakeholders’ Meeting.
The meeting, which seeks to accelerate new-born health care interventions in Ghana, brought together health professionals throughout the country to look at best practises and share positive examples of child health care.
Enumerating the causes of new-born deaths, she said about 60 per cent were due to infections, and noted that 50 per cent of new-born deaths occur within 24 hours of delivery while 75 per cent occurs in the first week of delivery.
She explained that most of the deaths were preventable, especially infections, and mentioned that people used herbal concoctions and powder, which could be contaminated and affect the new-born.
“A major cause of new-born death can also be attributed to home deliveries,” she added
Dr Sagoe-Moses also expressed worry about patronage of exclusive breastfeeding and explained that the programme was launched in 1993, but now many mothers do not practise exclusive breastfeeding
“The Ghana Health Service is going to re-launch the exclusive breastfeed programme next month,” reminding organizations to provide baby-friendly environment to enable nursing mothers continue with their breastfeeding.
Dr Hari Banskota of the Global New-born Action, the organization facilitating the improvement of child health world-wide, said education and information were key to empowering women, families and their communities to demand quality care.
He said the action plan would be underpinned by a set of indicators and targets related to each of the key themes.
Dr Banskota noted that the plan would seek to unleash the power of everybody who could make a difference in ensuring that every pregnancy was wanted and safe and that every new-born could make a healthy start in life.
Ms Susan Namondo Ngogi, Country Representative of UNICEF, called for coordination among all sectors, and noted that it was critical that sectors such as education, water and sanitation, roads and transports coordinated to take a consolidated action to make babies survive and thrive.
Ms Salimata Abdul-Salam, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, who read a speech on the Minister’s behalf, said there were major gaps in access to and utilization of best practises as well as quality of service provision.
She called on civil society groups and opinion leaders to help remove socio-cultural barriers that sometimes limited access to services.
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, who pledged her support for the programme, said her Ministry had an early childhood plan that aims at measuring the progress of neo-natal child health development in Ghana
“As a Ministry we have a legal responsibility to help accelerate new-born care interventions in Ghana and that is why we have the early childhood plan programme,” she said.