Upper East Health Directorate receives health package
Bolgatanga, June 23, GNA - Mr Donald Bobiash, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, on Monday presented 600 bicycles and 1,960 first aid boxes for the management of childhood illnesses to the Upper East Regional Directorate of Health Services at a ceremony in Zuarungu near Bolgatanga. Community-Based Volunteers, who assist in health education and the delivery of basic health services in the rural areas, would use the kits.
Making the presentation, Mr Bobiash said for the past four years, Canada had increased its aid to Ghana, with the level of assistance rising from 12.5 million dollars in 2001 to 55.8 million dollars in 2005. He cited basic education, health, governance, private sector development and environmental sustainability as five areas of priority under Canada's current International Policy. He said Canada provided direct budgetary support to 34 districts in Northern Sector, "and for 25 years we have invested in the provision of safe water and sanitation to Ghana, mostly in the North".
Mr Bobiash commended the Accelerated Child Survival and Development (ACSD) programme initiated by the Government of Canada in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) four years ago, to combat the high rate of infant deaths in the Upper East Region. He noted with satisfaction that the programme had produced remarkable results in target communities in the Region, with mortality rate among children less than five years dropping from 155 in 1998 to 79 in 2003.
He praised community leaders and health workers for the achievement, and gave the assurance that Canada would continue to support Ghana's efforts to improve the quality of life of her people. Dorothy Rozga, UNICEF Resident Representative in Ghana, who accompanied the High Commissioner on the visit, observed that although the Region had chalked successes in child survival programmes, it still had a long way to go in girl-child education. She urged chiefs and parents in the area to put in extra effort to ensure that they did not deny any girl in the Region formal education.
Mr Boniface Gambila, Upper East Regional Minister, who received the items, said the Government's policy of human resource development was closely inter-linked with good health for both children and adults. He expressed appreciation to the Canadian Government and UNICEF for the numerous interventions including health, education and supply of potable water, through, which the quality of life of most communities in the Region had improved remarkably.
Briefing the High Commissioner and his entourage on the Region's health situation earlier, Dr Joseph Amankwah, Regional Director of Health Services, indicated that malnutrition was one of the major causes of death among children less than five years in the area, accounting for 50 per cent of child deaths.
Malaria was responsible for 20 per cent, neonatal complications 20 per cent, diarrhoea 15 per cent and acute respiratory tract infections accounting for 15 per cent of child deaths. Dr Amankwah mentioned slow roll out of intervention packages, inadequate essential equipment and logistics at health centres, and the low direct flow of resources to the districts as some of the challenges facing healthcare delivery in the Region.