MP advocates use of NHIS Fund to reduce neonatal mortalities

Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, Member of Parliament for Madina has appealed to members of parliament to use their National Health Insurance (NHIS) Fund to help address maternal and neonatal mortalities in their constituencies.

He explained that the current maternal mortality of 350/100,000 live births is unacceptable and there is the need to marshal resources to curb the situation.

Speaking to Ghana News Agency (GNA) after a five-day training on Accountability Loop Budget Advocacy (ALBA), a workshop for stronger health budget advocacy in Harare, Zimbabwe, Alhaji Sorogho, who is also a member of the Parliamentary select Committee on Finance urged his colleague MPs to liaise with their metropolitan, municipal and health directors to help them with the list of items and equipment they need so that they could help in saving the lives of the women and babies.

“We should not get the stage where women after carrying one pregnancy for nine to 11 months will have to die during or after delivery. This is just pathetic and should not be encouraged,” he said.

The workshop was organised by the Harmonisation for Health in Africa under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, Africa Regional Office for Pparliamentarians in health and budget committees, civil society organisation (CSO) Alliance representatives, media, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The training was to build stronger health budget advocacy based on existing strong health/maternal and Newborn Care Health.

Participants were taken through health sector planning and budgeting processes.

Country groups reviewed their national documents, analysed how priorities translated into budgets and expenditures through the preparatory work for budget advocacy and prepared country advocacy strategic plan for action.

Alhaji Sorogho noted that there is the need to strengthen the health system in the country to address the bottlenecks of human resource, provision of basic equipment as well as functional referral system.

He also expressed concern on the slow implementation of Ghana’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Accelerated Framework, which is to identify effective evidence-based interventions for the realisation of the MDGs with focus on improving maternal health at the level of both community and health care facilities.

He called for the implementation of a cost effective interventions at the community level and entreated CSOs to advocate that other sectors like Ministries of Roads Transport to join in the crusade.

A member of the Zimbabwean Parliament, Dr Ruth Labode, told the GNA that most budget processes ware shielded in secrecy and bureaucracy and is even cumbersome and tedious, making it difficult for effective participation by groups interested in influencing the budget.

She said for the health sector to get the best response from parliamentarians there is the need to build their capacities to understand the budget so that they would be able to lobby for its approval. GNA

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