By Godfred A. Polkuu, GNA
Bolgatanga, Sept. 6, GNA – The Upper East Regional Health Directorate on Tuesday reviewed its mid-year health delivery performance as part of strategies to assess and take stock of activities to improve quality health care in the region.
The two-day event attracted stakeholders in the health sector including Directors, Deputy Directors, Medical Superintendents, development partners, some heads of department and the media.
It was held under the theme: “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals target for maternal and child health – the role of technology.”
Addressing the participants, Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, said the selection of the theme was based on the Director General’s vision and focus on how to leverage the use of information and communication technology to improve on maternal and newborn care in the region to save lives and prevent disability.
“We have a number of technology inclined facilities such as Tele-consultation centre, Geographic Information Systems, mobile phone calls, social media platforms such as WhatsApp, that we can use in problem analysis and fast communication to get help and save life. Recently a transactional data collection tool, e-tracker was deployed at the CHPS and Sub district facilities to facilitate data collection and utilization,” he said.
Dr Ofosu said the Directorate conducted a holistic assessment of the Regional and District level performance for 2017 and identified their strengths and weakness as well as available opportunities.
He said “among the weak areas were high maternal and neonatal mortality, low immunization coverage, high infant and child mortality, weak referral system, teenage pregnancy etcetera.”
Based on the assessment, the Directorate, he said, has prepared action plans which targets were set in the various service areas for attainment by the end of the year.
Dr Ofosu said the Directorate in its quest to address the health challenges in the region, continues to focus on the implementation of approved health policies and programmes such as the Community – based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) to create equitable access to quality health care services.
He said with the support of development partners namely; the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) / Jhpiego, had helped to strengthen the CHPS system in the region.
The Director said the region currently has 160 functional CHPS zones out of 412 demarcated zones covering 31 percent of the region’s population, adding that “in the area of pregnancy and delivery, antenatal care coverage was 30 percent and skilled delivery increased from 33.5 percent in 2017 to 34.5 percent in 2018 with a total live birth of 16,080”.
Dr Ofosu said postnatal care coverage was 31.4 percent, family planning acceptor rate was 16.2 percent over the period, adding that “a total of 18 maternal deaths with maternal mortality ratio of 110 per 100,000 live births were recorded, a marginal reduction compared to 2017 same period.”
He said immunization coverage increased from 40.7 percent in 2017 to 42 percent in 2018, and that the region has not recorded any death resulting from malaria among children less than five years. “
Dr Ofosu expressed gratitude to the Regional Coordinating Council, Municipal and District Chief Executives, development partners and all categories of health staff for their dedication, sacrifice and determination to ensure improved health outcomes in the region, “we thank the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Council and the Director General for the support”.
Mr Frank Fuseini Adongo, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, said technology presented faster and reliable means of following the development of unborn babies right from the period of conception.
He said telemedicine was bridging physical and technical gaps in health service delivery, and indicated that Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a host of other forms of technology made it possible for easier and faster diagnoses of children and their mothers for prompt remedial action and urged the Health Directorate to adopt some of these new technologies to improve on mother and child health in the region.