By Ansu Kofi Richard,B/A
The Ghana Health Service (GHS), has held its 2015 Family Health Division Annual Review conference in sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region. Uncomfortable pose? The then Israeli President Shimon Peres, Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pictured in 2014 .
As 2015 ended, the millennium development goals, 2016, must usher the service to be strategic and enable it sustain the gains made to address identified gabs of unmet targets.
It is worth noting that, this conference offers an appropriate platform to assess what Ghana health service have done not only in 2015 but over the previous years in sharing practices, learn lessons, set new targets and draw plans to achieve them.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye, Director of Family Health Division, reminded the staff about and performance and targets the service sets for 2015.
Exactly a year ago in the Ashanti region, the service review their performance and set some important targets as take home messages to guide their work.
Dr.Aboagye, indicated that some of the targets, including data quality, strengthening school health services, demarcate regions into zone( districts with common referral facilities) and institutionalize quarterly zonal conferences linked with maternal and newborn death audits.
The forth point target were the scale up and refresh maternal mortality death audit teams and ensure that all audit teams are trained.
The Director of family health division was in high spirit that all units are doing well in their respective areas and in partnership to achieve these targets.
According to him, the theme for the occasion, Integrating Services for Better outcomes is impeccable because a lot of training sessions are ongoing in the area of data collection and validation to achieve the targets.
He continued that school health services have seen a lot of attention in the year under review. Dr.Aboagye said Ghana school feeding programme caterers were also trained on nutrition and use of handy measures under the set targets.
Adding that, following a documentary shown on both local and international media by an investigative Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, base on the alleged misappropriation of food aid to the three Nothern regions, some recommendations were also given which the service has taken in good faith.
The recommendations, world food programme and the Ministry of Health/ Ghana Health Service should consider reviewing the memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ring fence a percentage of the budget on food commodities to be use to strengthen the supply chain system and to ensure that all commodities procured are distributed to the beneficiaries on time and in good condition for consumption.
The main challenges confronting the implementation of the recommendation Dr.Aboagye, claimed was the fire outbreak at the central medical store in January which caused all central level stocks to be destroyed.
Amongst the affected items were the maternal and child health record books.
Meanwhile, the year 2015, saw a slight dip of 3.1 percent in the maternal deaths audited compared to that of 2014.
Maternal and prenatal death audit trainings are ongoing in some regions with support from partners like USAID Systems for health.
Dr.Aboagye, further explained to expects the revamp of audit teams and improve upon the quality of maternal and prenatal health and death audits for service providers to use the lessons learnt as
guidance to improve on quality of maternal and newborn care thus prevent avoidable maternal and newborn deaths.
But, a Speech by the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Ghana Dr.Owen Kaluwa on Universal Health Coverage congratulates family health division on its achievement for improving Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in Ghana.
Dr.Owen stated that achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all must be a key target for the third sustainable development goal.
This goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Universal health coverage (UHC) is an essential means of achieving the post 2015 health goals.