Ghana is likely to miss the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5 targets relating to maternal and child health this year which marks the end of the MDGs. Unfortunately, as Ghana embraces the next set of development goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), World Vision Ghana has announced that more children and mothers are likely to die from preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia if the government of Ghana does not invest more into health service delivery, particularly Primary Health Care (PHC).
Meanwhile, considering the financial and economic hardships alongside the frequent review of Ghana’s 2015 budget due to low Benchmark Petroleum Revenue prices accrued. The 2015 budget which takes huge source of funding from the petroleum proceeds, a sharp fall in crude oil prices on the international market has significantly affected the 2015 budget hence expected expenditure spending has been pegged below.
It is crystal clear to or not to say that Ghana has already failed in achieving the MDG targets after years of implementation.
A rapid approach, the Abuja Declaration of which Ghana is a signatory to, spells out some part that government of the sub-region must commit to spend 15% percent of their total budgets on health by 2015.
The government of Ghana acceded to the Abuja Declaration in 2001, thereby committing itself to spending at least 15% percent of the total national budget on health.
Hubert Charles, National Director, World Vision Ghana noted that the 2015 budget as it stands now is way below the 15% percent threshold or target despite commitment of the Ministry of Health to achieve the 15% percent health spending including the 10% percent pay cut of the President and his cabinet ministers.
He noted for instance that the 2015 Government of Ghana budget allocation to the health sector was only 9.47% of total government proposed spending.
The National Director of WVG pointed out some poorest African Countries such as Rwanda, Malawi and Ethiopia have all achieved the 15% percent Abuja target.
While at the same time, are among the few countries on track to achieve the MDG 4, he noted.
According to him, analysis of available data suggests that Ghana only achieved the 15% percent benchmark of general expenditure on health only on three occasions (2005, 2007 and 2013).
He noted that World Vision Ghana has provided US$8.3 million dollars woth of items between 2014 and 2015 to government to improve health delivery systems in the country.
Hubert Charles through its Child Health Now Campaign has call on government to increase funding and allocation to health delivery so as to meet the 15% percent target set out in the Abuja Declaration.
While asking that resources be channeled towards improving maternal and child health, he recommends full implementation of the commitment to double the number of Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds from 1600 to about 3200 to meet the needs of under-served rural communities.
The National Director of WVG added, government must help prioritize primary health care within the context of the CHPS initiatives focusing on prevention and health promotion programmes.
He mentioned that government must help address the chronic problem of delays in the disbursement of funds to the sector ministry and its agencies to make the 2015 Health Budget relevant to improving the health status of every child, mother and all citizens.
Dr. Gloria Quansah Asare, Deputy Director General, Ghana Health Service (GHS) added that achieving positive results demands a multi-sectoral approach that remains favorable to achieving the MDG 4 and 5.
She urged that in as much as government finds ways to achieve the set targets, Ghanaians must also take the responsibility by ensuring that health facilities in the country are judiciously used in order to increase its lives span.
According to her, funding is below expectation therefore the GHS as an implementing agency is putting measures in place to harness partnerships to complement government’s efforts in many ways.
She said progress has been made towards immunization and the establishment of the new born care strategy to prevent infant mortality.
Mrs. Gifty Appiah, Ministry, Quality and Strategy Director, WVG added indicated that infant mortality rate reduced from 76 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 52 per 1000 live births in 2011.
She noted under-five mortality reduced from 121per 1000 in 1990 to 78 per 1000 in 2011, quoting from a UNICEF (2013 report).
“We want all children, regardless of race, creed or circumstance to achieve their full potential. Our task is to make it possible through our various programmes and interventions across 31 Area Development Programmes in the 10 administrative regions of the country,” she told the reporter.
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