Health News of 2013-12-09

Philips partners Africa to promote maternal, child health

Over the years, efforts by most countries, including Ghana, to address high maternal and infant mortality rates as a step to meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five have yielded some results.

Although Ghana has a high maternal mortality rate of 340 per 100,000 live births, there have been efforts to strengthen its healthcare system, with focus on making emergency obstetric care available to women to ensure that more women have supervised delivery and access to antenatal care, and improving immunisation targets to reduce preventable child deaths.

However, the challenges of inadequate access to healthcare, institutional problems resulting from inadequate infrastructure and human resource; institutional delays; and socio-cultural problems still undermine efforts to provide quality healthcare to women and children, particularly in the rural areas.

According to the Vice President and General Manager, Philips Healthcare Africa, Mr Peter van de Ven, the company has launched a campaign known as the Fabric for Africa to promote strategic partnership with organisations, governments and relevant ministries to provide innovative solutions that can deal with the complexity of healthcare in Africa, adding that the increasing focus is on maternal and child health.

Media Briefing

Speaking at a regional media session with a group of six media representatives from Africa at the just-ended 99th Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) at the McCormick Place in Chicago in the US, he said presently in East and West Africa, Philips was taking a long-term approach aimed at fostering collaboration with local and international partners that have strong engagement in the issues of healthcare.

Mr de Ven said the organisation was working with the Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria and Kenya governments to revitalise medical facilities and refurbish obstetric and newborn care units to make maternal health sustainable.

Responding to a question as to whether Philips was making an impact in the areas mentioned, he said the company had a mission to grow in Africa and was also committed to continue collaborating with African governments to strengthen healthcare systems to meet the growing needs of the people, particularly those in the rural communities, to ensure that people have immediate access to healthcare in areas where they were located, to ease pressure on facilities in the urban centres.

Philips in Africa

He said Philips held a leading position in Africa, which he described as having the fastest growing market. He added that apart from its support to build medical facilities, the organisation also undertakes training programmes for healthcare staff in the use of ultrasound equipment and also trains clinical staff to develop an innovative approach to medical care to ensure that patients have access to the best possible care with the lowest possible cost.

Mr de Ven said it was necessary to think of how to reduce mortality resulting from non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, stroke and hypertension, trauma and mother and child’s poor health and also use innovative technologies to develop a more patient-friendly approach to healthcare.