The problem had been compounded by poor leadership, lack of social accountability as well as a sleeping media that have failed to effectively interrogate the issues, Dr Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, the Programme Analyst for Communication and Resource Mobilisation, UNFPA, has said.
“Leaving a nation’s capital investments in the hands of donors is a dangerous game any government could play, yet Ghana had taken such chances in the past leading to numerous challenges in our healthcare system,’’ she said.
Dr Aglobitse said the country’s present healthcare delivery system could be said to be in a sorry state and very shameful as basic services were nothing to write home about.
She was addressing a workshop to empower health reporters with knowledge on the six key areas under the USAID-sponsored People4 Project. The areas are Maternal , Malaria, Nutrition, Family Planning, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and HIV/AIDS.
“The media ought to be provoked into action as they are the only force that can drive change, social accountability and policy commitment towards the nation’s capital investment for sustainable development,’’ she said.
The workshop was organised by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Aburi, in the Eastern Region, in collaboration with Media and Communication Advocacy Network (MCAN), SEND-Ghana and Pensplusbytes.
The project, which would cover the Greater Accra, Eastern, Northern regions, is on the theme: “Transparency and Accountability Mechanisms for People for (P4H) Project”.
Dr Aglobitse said currently statistics, especially on Maternal , Infant and Child Mortality, Malaria, and Malnutrition, are very high and devastating in areas with very low health care coverage.
She, therefore, called for action to demand from government a commitment to stick to and fulfil its obligation of devoting at 15 per cent of the national budget to health issues in line with the Abuja Declaration.
Dr Aglobitse said, to a large extent, funding releases to the health sector and the National Insurance Scheme (NHIS) did not come in early for reimbursement, which affected the healthcare delivery system.
Dr Aglobitse expressed the hope that the journalists would use the knowledge acquired to effectively embark on public sensitisation so that people would understand the issues affecting their health rights and make appropriate demands for change.
Mrs Yaa Oforiwah Asare-Peasah, the Director of Editorial, at the Ghana News Agency, said the workshop, which would be repeated in the Eastern and Northern regions, for MCAN members and health journalists, would promote community empowerment and improve reporting and tracking of diseases as far as the health and well-being of Ghanaians were concerned.
She said the country could not sustain its achievements in the other sectors of the economy if it did not address the deficiencies in the health sector.
She, therefore, encouraged the media to strengthen their advocacy role to educate the public and policy makers for a positive attitudinal change to ensure sustainable development.
Mr Gearge Osei-Bimpeh, the Country Director of SEND-Ghana, expressed satisfaction with the partnership so far, and pledged further support to facilitate the successful implementation of the project.
He urged the media up their advocating and sensitising role for the upholding of human rights in all spheres of life and called for hard work to ensure a successful health care delivery system.