Ghana collaborates to improve adolescent health
Ghana is collaborating with five other West African countries in a research project aimed at improving the health and quality of life of women, newborns, children and adolescents in the sub-region.
These are Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
The research project, funded by Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC), aims to build capacity for transformative leadership in West Africa to encourage better institutional and governmental use of health research. and scientific evidence to influence policies and interventions in the health sector.
Reduce maternal mortality
This was announced during the opening of a two-day dissemination workshop in Accra for research project teams from the six countries.
The workshop, themed: “Catalysing leadership to improve health outcomes for women, newborns, adolescents and children in West Africa”, is organized by the Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Ghana Health, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, Women Media and Change (WOMEC) and West African Health Organization (WAHO).
Opening the workshop, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, said the project aligned with Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage Roadmap 2020-2030 which aimed, among other things, to reduce avoidable risks for mothers, newborns and adolescents. dead in the country.
He said the government was relentless in ensuring that women, newborns, children and adolescent groups have access to the best quality of health services to improve their lives and well-being.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu said this has led to some interventions such as the implementation of the “free maternal health policy” under the national health insurance scheme to expand access to maternal health services for women of childbearing age and the strengthening of the extended vaccination program (PEV).
He said the project has further helped to sustain the national immunization coverage rate of 99.4% to improve the health and well-being of all newborns, infants and children eligible for immunization in Ghana.
Recently, he said that a package of essential health services that would provide a full range of services to all population cohorts using the life course approach had been finalized.
The population of West Africa, the Minister said, is currently estimated at around 420 million with a young population and women, newborns, children and adolescents forming more than half of the total population and an important demographic group for the attention of policy makers. .
He said that beyond the direct causes of preventable illnesses and deaths of these groups, factors such as health system challenges including inadequate equipment and human resources; congestion and lack of beds in health facilities; poor emergency transportation systems, poor wayfinding and communication systems, and lately the COVID -19 pandemic have also been indirect contributing factors.
“Implementing interventions to improve the health and well-being of these groups is important for each country, as well as for the sub-region,” he said.
Canada’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Kati Csaba, said that without improving the health of women, children and adolescents, it would be difficult to achieve the country-led development goals.
“A healthy and prosperous population has a better chance of growing the economy, resisting new shocks and making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
The health and well-being of women and girls, she said, was a central aspect of Canada’s feminist international assistance policy aimed at eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. , with women and girls at the heart of all policy and program decisions. .
Vera Karikari Bediako, senior program officer at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, said the ministry had developed a five-year national gender policy to mainstream gender equality issues into the national development process.
The policy document, Ms. Bediako said, is currently being revised and updated to address bottlenecks and barriers in various sectors regarding inequalities.
To ensure a coordinated response in tackling teenage pregnancy in Ghana, she said the ministry had also developed a five-year strategic plan and a strategic implementation plan that would help identify areas where interventions need to be strengthened. or modified.
“This has become necessary due to the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and their negative impact on the health and socio-economic well-being of young people, especially adolescent girls,” she said.
The Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), Stanley Okolo, expressed the hope that the workshop would facilitate the exchange of project results, lessons learned and how to scale up the results in the 15 ECOWAS countries to achieve their goals. Goals.