Malaria, respiratory tract infections, hypertension top OPD cases in Accra

Malaria, respiratory tract infections and hypertension are the leading causes of Out Patient Department (OPD) morbidity in the Greater Accra Region.

Dr Charity Sarpong, the Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services, said this on Thursday at the 2020 Performance Review of health delivery in the region.

She said although malaria topped the list of OPD cases, there had been a steady reduction in the number of malaria cases recorded over the past three years.

That she attributed to improvement in malaria diagnosis, case management and the distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, particularly among pregnant women.

Dr Sarpong said to address the increasing incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like hypertension and diabetes, all major hospitals and polyclinics had setup wellness clinics, which could be readily assessed by the public.

This year, the performance of the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate was reviewed by the Volta Regional Health Directorate, expected to chart new ways to attain higher positive health gains.

Dr Sarpong said last year was challenging for the Greater Accra Region because the pandemic distorted lives and impacted negatively on health care services.

“As an epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, since Ghana recorded its first cases in March 2020, the Greater Accra Region accounted for over 50 per cent of the total reported positive cases in the country,” she said.

She said the fear and panic that gripped the populace due to the myths and uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19, the absence of a vaccine and effective treatment impacted the delivery of health services.

Dr Sarpong said the pandemic had created a dip in the Region’s OPD per capita, which reduced from 0.86 in 2019 to 0.81 in 2020.

She said the Greater Accra Region’s total insured OPD attendance also reduced from 54.4 per cent in 2019 to 50.8 per cent in 2020.

The performance review established a reduction in skilled deliveries, family planning acceptor rate and some immunization coverages.

“Total health deliveries reduced from 112,957 in 2019 to 104,608 in 2020, representing 7.4 per cent, while antenatal attendance reduced by 2.0 per cent from 752,289 in 2019 to 737,021 in 2020,” she said.

Dr Sarpong said the regional doctor, nurse and midwife population ratios, however, improved in 2020 adding; “A total of 114 new medical doctors, 127 midwives and 587 nurses were posted and deployed equitably in the Greater Accra Region in 2020.

Posting of staff to underserved districts like Ada East and West continue to remain a challenge as staff refuse posting to those areas, she said.

Dr Sarpong said in 2021, the Directorate would continue to work hard to address all shortfalls identified in the health delivery system.

This year’s performance review meeting is on the theme: “Advancing Universal Health Coverage through Enhanced People Engagement, Effective Data Management and Appropriate Technology in the midst of COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Dr Sarpong appealed to stakeholders to help promote the acceptance of the on-going COVID-19 vaccination exercise, while adhering to the preventive protocols.

Source: GNA

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