“Leaving a nation’s capital investments in the hands of donors is a dangerous game any government could play, yet Ghana had taken such chances in the past leading to numerous challenges in our healthcare system,’’ Dr Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, the Programme Analyst for Communication and Resource Mobilisation, UNFPA, has said.
She said this at a workshop for health reporters to empower them with knowledge on the six key areas of Maternal Health, Malaria, Nutrition, Family Planning, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and HIV/AIDS.
It was organised by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in collaboration with Media and Communication Advocacy Network (MCAN), SEND-Ghana and Pensplusbytes at Aburi in the Eastern Region on the theme: “Transparency and Accountability Mechanisms for People for Health (P4H) Project.”
Dr Aglobitse said the country’s present healthcare delivery system could be said to be in a sorry state and very shameful as basic services were nothing to write home about.
Currently statistics, especially on maternal health, infant and child mortality, malaria, and malnutrition, were very high and devastating in areas with very low health care coverage.
She therefore called for action to demand from government a commitment to stick to and fulfil its obligation of devoting 15 per cent of the national budget to health issues.
Dr Aglobitse said, to a large extent, funding releases to the health sector and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) did not come in early for reimbursement which results affects the healthcare delivery system.
“The country’s health system is in the current poor state because of poor leadership, lack of social accountability as well as a sleeping media that have failed to effectively interrogate the issues.
“The media ought to be provoked into action as they are the only force that can drive change, social accountability and policy commitment towards the nation’s capital investment for sustainable development,’’ she said.
Dr Aglobitse expressed the hope that the journalists would use the knowledge acquired to effectively embark on public sensitisation so that people would understand the issues affecting their health rights and make appropriate demands for changeem.
Mrs Yaa Oforiwaa Asare-Peasah, the Director of Editorial, at the Ghana News Agency, the worksop, which would be repeated in the Eastern and Northern regions, for MCAN members and health journalists, would promote community empowerment and improve reporting and tracking of diseases as far as the health and well-being of Ghanaians were concerned.
She said as the country commemorated the Africa Union Day, enhanced media advocacy was more crucial to educate the public and policy makers for attitudinal change especially in the health sector and in other sectors as well.
Mr Gearge Osei-Bimpeh, the Country Director of SEND-Ghana, expressed satisfaction with the partnership so far, and pledged further support to facilitate what the members would be doing.
He said a lot, however depended on the role of the media in advocating and sensitising for human right adherence and awareness, and called for hard work to ensure a successful health care delivery system.