Members of the Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG) on Friday, converged in Accra for a two-day annual conference on the theme: “Every Child Matters”, to address issues regarding the general well-being of children and young people.
The conference would also create the platform for members to review the past performances of the Society, open up for new membership and encourage networking for enhanced paediatric health care delivery, to the redress of the challenges leading to maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.
Dr Ebenezer Badoe, the President of the Paediatric Society of Ghana, in his welcome address said there was currently a host of challenges affecting the health dynamics of the country, citing the population growth, rapid urbanisation, poor health leading of Ghanaians, leading to high birth and death as well as morbidity rates, poor infrastructure, and the huge health expenditure resulting in poor quality of services as a wake-up call for action.
He said child psychiatric disorders had also become a common phenomenon in cases seen daily in the various health facilities, most of them attributable to poor antenatal and neonatal care.
He said the enormous challenges ahead required strengthened collaboration with all stakeholders with the requisite knowledge and skills, as well as a multi-disciplinary approach in terms of training and financing, to deal with the childhood health problems of Ghanaians.
He called for the need to look at the national context and improve services for children in order to attain the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty and a universal need for development for all people.
Dr Issabella Sagoe Moses, the Director of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, said although Ghana had made some strides in reducing under five mortality and morbidity rates, by introducing interventions to reduce the burden of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malnutrition, there was still more work to be done.
She said the Society must champion advocacy and sharpen their skills on universal child health provision, with particular focus on children with disabilities, their rehabilitation, rights, nutrition and care.
Professor Jennifer Welbeck, an Associate Professor in Paediatrics at the Department of Child Health at the University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry, addressing a topic on the “Paediatric care in Ghana: The past, the Present and the Future”, said neo-natal mortality had not seen much gains over the past years, which contributed to the failure in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
She however expressed the hope that with the current doubled efforts by all stakeholders, infrastructure upgrades, scaled up training by nursing and midwifery institutions, and political commitment, the minimum resources available to the health sector could be effectively utilised to address the challenges.
Dr Hilda Mantebea Boye, the Secretary to the Greater Accra Branch of the Society, gave highlights on Neo-natal Jaundice, which was a major cause of brain damage in infants, citing some of the cause as infection in baby’s blood, viral or bacterial infections, incompatibility between the mother and the baby’s blood, liver malfunction as well as enzyme deficiency.
She cited some of the reasons for the late presentation of such cases by mother to ignorance, misconception, myths as well as misinformation by health professionals.
She called for intensified public education on Neo-natal Jaundice, which was currently a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in children.