Provision of quality healthcare is my main objective- Health minister

Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, the Minister of Health, has stated that his main objective was to provide quality healthcare services to communities through Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) as well as mobile outreach services.

He said providing these facilities would improve access to basic health care services in the country and deprived communities would also enjoy specialized outreach services.

“I believe if we are able to take healthcare services to the communities, we shall be giving them the opportunity to plan for these services and I can assure you that this approach will help improve access to basic healthcare services in the country”, he said

Dr Agyemang-Mensah said this on Thursday when he addressed the Inter-Agency Leadership Committee (IALC) meeting at Sogakofe in the Volta Region.

He said the main cause of death among children under five, beyond the new born period, in many Sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana remained malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.

“These deaths are largely preventable and treatable by simple measures at the community and first level primary healthcare facilities, hence my interest in primary healthcare where a lot of our people are vulnerable”, he said.

He noted that under-five mortality rate had declined from 108 per 1000 live births in 1998 to 82 per 1000 live births in 2012.

“In order to accelerate the pace of child mortality reduction, we have to develop health systems which are capable of reaching the most deprived and marginalised children with treatment and preventable services”, he added.

On maternal mortality, the Minister said mortality still remained high in Ghana with lack of adequate infrastructure and skilled personnel to take care of women especially in deprived areas being a major contributing factor.

“These are often most in need of the services and farthest away from hospital or clinic and cannot pay for their services, adding that economic disparity also limit access to and utilization of health services by the poorest quintile of the society”, he said.

Dr Agyemnag-Mensah also expressed worry about the current cholera outbreak that had afflicted the nation, especially in the urban centres with death toll increasing every day.

“With regards to the Ebola Virus Disease or the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, it is no secret that we have a big challenge on our hands although we have not recorded any case, the devastating nature of this disease makes preparation towards it response very complex”, he said.

He therefore called for concerted efforts, coordination and multi-sectoral approaches in addressing both challenges.

Dr Afisah Zakariah, Director, Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Health, said the meeting was a platform to allow all heads of agencies in the health sector to discuss areas of challenges, how to address them and implement new policies for the growth of the health sector.

She said it was also a channel for heads of the agencies to present their mandates to the minister for measures to be formulated in promoting the goals of the ministry as well as ensuring good healthcare systems in the country.

Dr Zakariah however lauded the sector minister for his concentration on deprived communities and pledged IALC’s support to make the goals of the minister achievable.

“We are looking at basic clinical services in rural areas to render quality health service to them through the new revision of the CHPS services”, she said. GNA

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