Cross-sectoral collaboration key to addressing health challenges – Minister

By Kodjo
Adams/Jennifer Ansu, GNA

Accra, Oct. 23, GNA – Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu,
the Minister of Health, has called for cross-sectoral collaboration among
member states to effectively combat health challenges, particularly maternal
and child health issues.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said working cross-sectorally
allowed for composite planning and execution of maternal and child health
initiatives, and as well improves access to health services and efficiencies
for holistic development. 

“Cross-sectorally requires breaking down
financial and territorial barriers and other self-centred conduct which impede
progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

The Minister made the call on Tuesday in Accra
at the opening ceremony of the third ECOWAS Best Practices Forum in Health held
under the theme: “Promoting Multi-Sectoriality to Achieve Maternal, New-born,
Child, Adolescent and Youth Health-Related Sustainable Development Goals”.

The forum brought together experts from
Ministries of Health, regional health practitioners, researchers, research
institutions among others to deliberate on charting a way forward in ensuring
good health for the citizenry.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said improvement in maternal,
new-born child, and adolescent health was a global concern because the menace
affects the core of the population which form the nation’s work force.

The Minister said government has over the
years developed and implemented many health interventions designed to optimise
the health of the population for sustained national development.

He said life-course approach to health care
was an invaluable investment that had many benefits for not only the health of
the individual, but the socio-economic development of the country, sub-region
and the world.

“Good health is not only a human welfare
issue, but a fundamental objective of socio-economic development and as such no
single Ministry, Department or Agency can ensure the health of a nation, it
requires the concerted effort of all stakeholders”, he added.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the advent of the SDGs
and other initiatives such as the Health-In-All Policy and intervention has led
to an integrated approach to healthcare delivery of every country.

He said it is imperative for countries to find
points of convergence in policies, strategies, interventions, information and
resource sharing to maximise impact and optimise the use of resources for
investment in other areas of national development.

Prof Stanley Okolo, the Director General of
the West African Health Organisation, said statistics showed that maternal and
child mortality rates in West Africa were among the highest in the world,
despite a number of interventions that have been implemented over the years.

Prof Okolo said as a result of the high rates,
the ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers in 2014 adopted a resolution to
establish the ECOWAS Best Practices Forum in Health to facilitate the
documentation, dissemination and scaling-up of effective and proven practices
in the health with emphasis on mothers, new-borns, adolescent and young people.

He said the forum would focus on best
practices in Family Planning, Maternal and New-born Health, and Youth and
Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health identified in the areas of good
governance and accountability, public-private partnership, traditional medicine
and non-communicable diseases.

Madam Carell Laurent, the Acting Mission
Director, USAID West Africa, said the Sub-Sahara region has made significant
strides in attaining the SDGs, but more efforts was needed especially in
maternal mortality.

She said USAID would continue to collaborate
with its partner and ECOWAS to strengthen community-based results on health
delivery and urged member countries to make the best of the forum and share
best ideas on improving delivery within the region.

GNA

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