GHS/JICA hold project dissemination forum

By Christabel Addo, GNA

Accra, Aug. 16, GNA
– The Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA), is holding a dissemination forum on the “Project for
Improvement of Maternal and Neonatal Health Services Utilising CHPS System in
Upper West Region”.

The two-day forum,
brought together about 100 participants from the Northern, Central, Volta and
Eastern Regions, to share good practices, which have been developed and
implemented in the project area.

They would also
share lessons learned and recommendations for adoption of good practices by the
Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana Health Service (GHS), development partners, and
other regions.

Mr Alex Segbefia,
the Minister of Health, at the opening ceremony expressed appreciation for the
long years of development cooperation between JICA, Japan and Ghana.

He said the optimal
implementation of the Ministry’s policy on the Community Based Health and
Planning Services (CHPS), as well as improvement of maternal and child health
are two important targets towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage
(UHC).

He said the
Ministry would therefore be interested in the in the recommendation birthed out
of the project and incorporate them into policy.

Dr Winfred Ofosu,
the Acting Regional Director of Health Services and Project Manager in the
Upper West Region, said the project, which was the second phase, was initiated
in September 2011 through a technical cooperation agreement between the GHS and
JICA.

It is to help to
address the issue of high maternal and neonatal mortality in the Region through
strengthening the CHPS system.

According to him
significant progress has been made in the improvement of maternal and neonatal
health service, and mentioned key achievements as capacity building of health
professionals and workers, the effective functioning of CHPS systems, increased
antenatal care, improved skill delivery services and a reduction in maternal
and neonatal deaths in the Region.

He said discussions
are currently underway to expand the project to other regions in the third
phase of the project.

Mr Shigeru Umetsu,
the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan said his country was pleased to
be given the opportunity to support the noble cause of extending quality care
to mothers and children in deprived communities towards the attainment of the
health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

He said achieving
the UHC is a shared responsibility between Ghana and the donor community and
commended the government for the gain made so far in reducing maternal and
neonatal deaths.

Dr Ebenezer
Appiah-Denkyira, the Director General of the GHS said the project worked to
strengthen the health systems by improving on action-oriented and facilitative
supervision, referral and counter-referral, neonatal death audit as well as
collaboration between health service providers and the district assemblies.

He said as a
result, institutional maternal mortality ratio has reduced from 212 per 100,000
live births to 155.8 per 100,000 live births within the project implementation
period while institutional neonatal mortality rate has also recorded a
declining trend within the period.

He affirmed the
GHS’s commitment towards improving access and quality of health service
delivery to communities, and would incorporate the innovations and good lessons
learnt in the project into the national protocols in order to accelerate the
achievement of the UHC targets.

Mr Koji Makino, the
Chief Representative of JICA expressed the need for strong leadership and
commitment in the areas of development and management of heath workforce,
continuous financing for operational activities and other related issues that
influenced the impact of the interventions put in place by the project.

He appealed to the
GHS to sustain the gains made through the joint technical cooperation project.

GNA

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