19 April 2018

Ghana: Govt Urged to Improve Access to Water, Sanitation

The government has been urgently asked to improve access to water and sanitation, so that Ghana can attain Universal Health Coverage (UCH), by 2030.

Mr Kofi Adusei, Chief Health Educator and Programmes Manager for the Regenerative Health and Nutrition Programme at the Ministry of Health, who said this in Accra, noted that attaining UCH was not solely dependent on building health facilities.

UHC enables everyone to receive the services that address the most important causes of disease and death, and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.

Speaking in an Interview with Ghanaian Times on this year's World Health Day celebration, Mr Adusei stated that it was about time health care provision in Ghana was shifted to preventive health care rather than the usual curative services.

"The health conditions of the people would massively improve if everyone can have access to clean water and proper sanitation, the lack of these are the common causes of illness like cholera, malaria, diarrhoea recorded frequently in the health facilities," Mr Adusei said.

Ghana every year joins the rest of the World in commemorating World Health Day (WHD) instituted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), to provide a unique opportunity to mobilize actions around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

The theme for this year's WHD is: "Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere" and seeks to ensure that all persons can have access to essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.

This celebration is expected to promote UHC by 2030 with the aim to support policy-makers, civil society organizations, individuals and the media in the journey to bring UHC to all countries.

Mr. Adusei stressed the need for laws on hygiene to be enforced, and called on the public to manage their own health, by going to health facilities for check up regularly, eating balanced diet, and exercising at least 30 minutes each day.

He said UHC was not only about minimum, "essential", package of health services, but also about ensuring that people received better health services and financial protection as more resources became available.

Mr. Adusei indicated "It is not only about health services for individuals. But it also includes services for the whole population, such as public health campaigns for example, adding iodine to salt to get iodated salt to address problems of goiter and other iodine deficiency diseases."

A press statement issued by the Ministry of Health on the WHD said over the past few years, there had been improvement in access to health care in Ghana, although there were many challenges to the achievement of UHC.

It said for Ghana to move towards universal health coverage, the country needed to find more money, strengthen the financing and coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to expand access to health care services and to raise the quality of care.

The statement said the Community Health Planning Services programme, which had been designed to provide a close-to-client service, needed to be expanded to ensure that Primary Health Care services were closer to the people and within the reach of the poor.

It observed that Ghana had already made significant progress towards UHC, but some Ghanaians were unable to obtain the needed health services.

This year's WHD, which aims to shine a spotlight on the need for UHC and the advantages it can bring, was observed in Ghana on April 11.

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