Godfred A. Polkuu / Rita Dakura, GNA
Bolgatanga, Sept. 16, GNA – The Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has donated 50 tricycle ambulances to the Upper East Regional Health Directorate to improve on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health care (MNCH) in the Region.
The donation was part of the KOICA Community-based Health Planning Services - plus (CHPS-Plus) project which aims to improve health care in 13 districts of the region. The gift is estimated to cost about $ 9,000.000 for a period of five years.
The project receives technical implementation for procurement and logistics from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Presenting the ambulances in Bolgatanga at a brief ceremony of stakeholders chaired by Bonaba, Baba Salifu Aleemyarum, Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Mr Yukyum Kim, Country Director of KOICA noted that maternal and child mortalities could be prevented if the health system was strengthened in a holistic manner.
He said if emergency cases were not transported to the next referral point in time, coupled with unequipped referral facilities to handle such cases, they could result in deaths, “It is against this background that we are all here to commission these 50 motor king ambulances.”
“We hope that they will serve as the emergency transport system to convey cases from our communities to the higher level of care, and eventually improve our maternal and child health indicators,” he said.
Mr Kim said the Sustainable Emergency Referral Care (SERC) which facilitates quicker transport of pregnant women, newborns and critically ill patients to health facilities for appropriate care, was not only about vehicles, but indicated that human resource was “very crucial” to the success of the project.
The Country Director said “we often hear that Ghana lacks maintenance culture. However, I refuse to believe that this is the case in the Upper East Region. I hope with the support and supervision from our District Directors, all community members can play roles to maintain these 50 tricycles so that in the coming five years or more, our pregnant mothers and children can still benefit from this wonderful initiative.”
Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, who received the tricycles on behalf of the Directorate, said CHPS was Ghana’s flagship strategy to achieving Universal Health Coverage adding that “together with National Health Insurance Scheme, we are scaling up to achieve universal health at the community level.”
He indicated that the region had a total of 412 demarcated CHPS zones of which 255, covering 44 percent of the population were functional, and said a total of 180 CHPS Compounds were mostly constructed by District Assemblies across the region.
Dr Ofosu disclosed that 36 of the CHPS zones were fully equipped while 238 were partially equipped, and said “with supply of equipment by KOICA CHPS – plus project, the number of fully equipped zones will increase.”
The Director said CHPS in the first half of 2018 contributed to 30.1 percent of antenatal care, 13.6 percent of skilled deliveries and 49.1 percent of immunization coverage including health promotion and disease prevention activities, and treatment of minor ailments.
Dr Ofosu expressed gratitude to KOICA for the gesture and said “it is a momentous occasion to receive these motor king (tricycle) ambulances and other equipment to strengthen CHPS system for improving health outcomes in the region for especially maternal and child health.”GNA