Tuesday 12th June 2018, Ghana Health Service rolled out the maiden National Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) Conference, to map out strategies to decrease disparities in health services delivery and increase Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by ensuring accountability.
The three-day conference which took place at the Holiday Inn Hotel, sought to create a common ground to increase partner involvement and knowledge sharing. The theme for this engagement was; ‘’Strengthening Partnerships for achieving Universal Health Coverage in Reproductive Maternal, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition’’.
At the opening, the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo-Addo, delivered the key note address. The conference also brought together health sector partners, and key stakeholders.
The Minister of Health Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, commended the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and its Partners for hosting the conference and the continuous engagement to improve health sector outcomes.
He added that despite the significant progress in many health indicators on MCHN, the prevailing levels of maternal and child morbidity and mortality were simply too high, and in most cases preventable.
He said to achieve Universal Health Coverage(UHC) as stated in the target three of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), ‘’there must be a deliberate and sustained effort to invest in maternal and child health, which present both short and long term benefits vital to the development of the country’’.
“Consequently, households with healthier and better nourished mothers and children spend less on healthcare. Reducing unexpectedly large and catastrophic out-of-pocket expenses for this vulnerable group is particularly important”, he said.
Mr. Agyeman Manu also took the opportunity, to emphasize on the government’s commitment to continue to make maternal and child mortality a priority by committing more resources to address the challenges. He added that, the government will also put in place a robust health insurance system, as well as develop and implement policies such as the free maternal health care services, to benefit women and children.
Further, government was working tirelessly to ensure equitable distribution of a competent health force and improve the health infrastructure, as well as institute measures to strengthen the primary health care system through the expansion of Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme, which continued to receive massive investments from both government and its partners.
He said all initiatives by government is geared towards building a ‘’resilient community health system that meets the health care needs of women and children”.
Executive Director of TFHO sharing insights from the Market Development Approach (MDA) on Family Planning
Total Family Health Organisation (TFHO) was one of the key stakeholders identified to share learnings on innovative Social Marketing Approaches towards the delivery of impactful health interventions.
At a Family Planning & Reproductive Health session, Mr. Antonio Quashie Awusah the Executive Director of TFHO briefly introduced TFHO as a global health Implementing Partner (IP) which had massive footprints in Family Planning interventions, among other health areas.
He stated that as part of the efforts to continuously meet the health needs of consumers in the ever changing & evolving environment, TFHO as a partner of PSI had gone a step further to adopt the Marketing Development Approach to deliver its core mandate of promoting healthy behaviors and providing affordable heath commodities in a sustainable manner.
He mentioned in his presentation that the Market Development Approach (MDA) is an initiative which works towards the outcomes of improved financial sustainability, improved access and improved choice through the value chain.
Mr. Antonio Quashie Awusuh shared a resent MDA research findings conducted by PSI Ghana, which revealed that, about 300,306 older women within the age of 35years and above who are mostly married, and in lower quantiles living in the rural areas have an unmet need.He further explained that, about 515,418 wealthier urban women from 25years and above mostly married also had unmet needs and 397,865 youth who are less than 25years also have unmet needs.
He said aside the issue of ‘fear of side effects’ contributing to the high unmet needs in the country, the interviews revealed huge gaps in knowledge/information, although its perceived that information on FP is everywhere, the quality of information has a direct bearing on managing side effects, and misconceptions.
He concluded by calling on all stakeholders to take a critical look at this huge gap of unmet needs, to come up with innovative programming and interventions to increase uptake for FP commodities and services across the different segments of the markets identified.