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Health News Sun, 1 Aug 2010

Guinea worm likely to be eradicated next year - Veep

Wa, Aug 1, GNA - Ghana is on the verge of eradicating guinea worm next year, Vice President John Dramani Mahama has announced in Wa.

He said Ghana has recorded only eight reported cases of the disease as at June this year and described the achievement as good news for the country.

He therefore urged all to adhere to the practices that could help in the total eradication of the guinea worm next year.

Vice President Mahama announced this when he officially launched "The Ghana 8 Number Hospitals Project and cut sod for the construction and equipping of a new 160 bed Upper West Regional Hospital in Wa on Saturday.

The Ghana 8 Number Hospitals Project would cost 339 million dollars with a grant element of 36.63 per cent from Euroget De-Invest S.A. of Egypt.

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Under the project two regional hospitals, one in the Upper West and the other in Ashanti, as well as six district hospitals would be provided in some regions of the country.

Vice President Mahama said the strategic objective of the project is to create, expand and upgrade capabilities in the health system to fill the service gaps.

Secondly, he said it is also to improve clinical and organisational performance to promote, protect and improve healthcare delivery.

Vice President Mahama said it is expected that the project would address some of the growing health needs of both rural and urban centres, address National Health Insurance Scheme demands, and improve health related millennium development goals with focus on maternal and child health.

He announced that five more Polyclinics would be established in the Upper West Region to provide quality health care services to the people.

Vice President Mahama also announced that the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority's (SADA) Bill had been passed by Parliament and that government was prepared to commit resource for the development of a new road from Wa-Walewale to open up the area to trade and other economic activities.

He commended health workers in the region for working hard under some serious challenges to provide quality healthcare service to the people and urged them to continue with their good work.

Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, Minister of Health said government was committed to improve quality health care services in such a way that people in both rural and urban centres would have access to equal health care delivery.

He said government was concerned about the deplorable state of some health facilities and was doing everything possible to improve on them soon to enhance healthcare delivery for all.

Dr Kunbuor announced that the Ministry has initiated a policy and plan to complete all uncompleted and abandoned projects in the health sector, aimed to move service delivery to higher level.

He said the Ministry had valued all those uncompleted projects and was working hard to secure a loan to complete them to help increase the coverage and quality of health services for the people to create wealth.

Dr Kunbuor announced that the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as well as the Better Ghana Management Services had initiated a programme to train more than 2,000 Health Promotion Assistants to support educate and create awareness on healthy lifestyle and healthy choices.

The programme would be launched in this August, 2010, after which selected unemployed Environmental Health graduates and Senior High School graduates would be trained to become Health Promotion Assistants.

These Assistants would work with community structures to improve sanitation, personal hygiene and diseases prevention in schools, market places, work places and in the communities, to help reduce disease burden so as to make the health insurance scheme more sustainable.

Source: GNA