Forum on best health practices in sub-region opens in Accra

BY: Doreen Andoh
 Ms Rachael Asantewaa Ntow (right), an official of the FDA, explaining the functions of some approved drugs to the dignitaries during an exhibition mounted as part of the forum. Among them are Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health; Prof Stanley Okolo (left), Director General of WAHO, and Dr Moeti Matshidiso, Regional Director of WHO. Picture: EBOW HANSON
Ms Rachael Asantewaa Ntow (right), an official of the FDA, explaining the functions of some approved drugs to the dignitaries during an exhibition mounted as part of the forum. Among them are Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health; Prof Stanley Okolo (left), Director General of WAHO, and Dr Moeti Matshidiso, Regional Director of WHO. Picture: EBOW HANSON

A forum on best health practices in member states of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has opened in Accra.

The three-day Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional event, which started yesterday, will focus on scaling up best health practices in the region as part of efforts to build a robust, holistically responsive and resilient healthcare system in member states.

Dubbed: “ECOWAS Good Practices Forum in Health”, the 2018 edition comprises scientific conferences with plenary and parallel sessions and presentations and documentaries.

There will also be discussions, electronic displays and exhibition of biomedical equipment and materials.

Priorities

This year’s conference is on the theme: “Promoting multi-sectoriality to achieve Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Youth (MNCAYH) Health-related Sustainable Development Goals”.

Participants include government officials, health practitioners, development partners, researchers and managers of training and research institutions.

Another issue to be discussed is the promotion of local and across-region multi-sectoral partnerships for better healthcare services and systems across the region.

The forum will also mobilise and align key stakeholders around national and regional priorities based on good health practices.

Collaborations

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, underscored the need for multi-sectoral collaborations in the provision of quality health care in line with international best practices across the region.

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He said improvement in maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health was of global concern and that “Ghana has identified and ranked these issues as key priorities in the health sector due to their diverse effects on productivity”.

Mr Agyeman-Manu added that governments had, over the years, also developed and implemented many interventions in the sector to ensure quality health care, which he said was a fundamental human right.

Concerns

The Director-General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, expressed concern that despite the interventions, maternal and child mortality rates in West Africa were the highest in the world.

He said it was against that background that in 2014 the 15th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers adopted a resolution establishing the forum to facilitate the documentation, dissemination and scaling up of effective and proven practices in health, with particular emphasis on the vulnerable.

Prof. Okoyo expressed hope that the forum would provide the platform for knowledge and experience sharing.

Significance

The Country Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Owen Kaluwa, said health had been enshrined as a fundamental human right in the constitution of the WHO and that it was for that reason that good health and well-being for all was adequately captured in the global development agenda, the SDGs.

He described good health and well-being as essential to economic development and called for national and regional partnerships among agencies and member countries to accelerate the delivery of quality health care for all.