Health News of 2014-01-25

Akosa blames failure to meet MDG 4 & 5 on misplaced priorities

Former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, has bemoaned government's inability to achieve goals four and five of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) due to slow progress in maternal and child healthcare.

Though the country's under-five mortality rate between 1990 and 2011 decreased by 36 percent, it was inadequate to meet MDG 4, which requires a decrease of 66 percent to be achieved by 2015.

The country's under-five child mortality diminished from 121 deaths in 1000 births in 1990 to 78 deaths in 1000 births in 2011.

Speaking in an interview on Radio Gold's "Tea Cup," the former presidential candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP) wondered why successive governments failed to achieve the Millennium Goals. He explained that between 2007 and 2011, governments diverted their focus on achieving the millennium goals and this has cost the country.

Ghana today is struggling to meet the targets because to him "we lost the golden opportunity in the period from 2007 to 2011. The five year programme of work, as far as I am concerned, should have been dedicated to attaining the MDGs…having lost that period and having lost substantial health budget funding into attaining MDGs, we have not lived up to expectation. We have a few Mid-wives; we do not have enough Mid-wives to be able to do the job in terms of maternal health and child health primarily.”

Suggesting measures to help government achieve the MDGs, Professor Akosa noted that the era when women were educated on health issues to appreciate the danger signs associated with child care should be revitalized.

Queen mothers, he stressed, can also be “facilitated to speak to women. Those who are not going to ante-natal; those who are going to post-natal. Those who are delivering in our facilities. Once upon a time, it was their role to virtually prepare women for marriage. It was their fundamental role.”

He called on government to address the pertinent issues that can help the nation meet the MDGs.

“These are all issues that we should be able to sit down, look at it in our own context and plot the system.”

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