Ho, July 15, GNA - Ghana needs to maintain its political momentum to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four and five set for 2015, Mr Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health has observed.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo made the observation at the 18th annual Conference of the District Directors of Health (DDHs) in Ho, on the theme: "Using information for better decisions to achieve MDG 4 and 5: A challenge for the Health Manager."
MDG 4 aims to reduce child mortality among children below five years by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 while MDG 5 seeks to improve maternal mortality health by three-quarters within the same period. "For MDG 4 only five countries, excluding Ghana are on track to achieve the target of reducing under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015," the Minister said.
Quoting the Demographic and Health Survey 2008, regarding MDG 5, Mr Mettle-Nunoo said: "There has not been any progress in maternal mortality reduction over the past one and a half decades." "The coverage of skilled attendance at delivery has improved over the years but is still quite low at 58.7 per cent." Mr Mettle-Nunoo said meeting the challenge meant more money for the health sector justified by evidence based statistics. Both donors and the Ghanaian public, he said must be convinced that the sector requires what it is asking for. "Resources are badly needed but funds are limited," he said. "We are not getting the logistics for which we are assessing you," Mr Mettle-Nunoo said, attracting applause from the delegates. He urged the delegates to prioritise the completion of capital projects to create the space, comfort and atmosphere to work in. Mr Mettle-Nunoo expressed the need to review funding for the donor-driven sector.
He said the back log of payments for services rendered by institutions in the sector must be cleared so as to shift from reliance on "direct payment to pre-payment", for services. Mr Mettle-Nunoo called for an end to "fragmented information" for "coherent information" in the sector. He called on District Directors of Health to place premium on team work.
Dr Elias Sory, Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) charged the DDHS to be innovative, use the best practices and continue to learn to keep track with evolving trends and challenges. Regarding the MDGs he reminded the delegates that "we are being judged by the world".
The National Chairman of the DDHs group Dr Samuel Abudey said information gathered from the lowest level of health delivery through the National headquarters of the GHS should be carefully and thoroughly analysed at every level "to enable us take informed decisions to improve service delivery".
He said the introduction of the straight midwifery training and the reintroduction of midwifery training for Community Health Nurses would help avert the shortage of midwives.
Dr Abudey observed that "most safe-motherhood and child welfare services that have indicators under the MDG 4 and 5 are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme".
He said "dedicated and interrupted rendering of these services under the current circumstances is a dream in the absence of adequate financial support".
The Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Colonel Cyril Necku (rtd) urged the DDHS to: "Devise local solutions to peculiar local problems."
Mr Walter Blege, Rector of the EP University College, who chaired the opening ceremony, urged the GHS to make available its data collection activities to unorthodox medical practitioners and patients at areas such as faith healing and traditional medicine centres. This he said would correct assess deficits in health delivery in the country.