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Mon, Dec

Pay attention to workers’ health - Employers urged

The Fourth biennial conference of the Ghana Association of Quasi-government Health Institutions (GAQHI) was held in Accra yesterday, with a call on corporate organisations and institutions to take the health of their workforce seriously.

Attention was also drawn to the need for the country’s workforce to be provided with preventive health services.

A former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr George Amofah, who made the call, said: “Our health system is curative bias but preventing diseases among the workforce is more cost-effective.”

The conference, which was attended by medical officers and administrators from quasi-government institutions, was on the theme: “Integrating preventive care into Ghana’s healthcare delivery system: GAQHI’s example”.

It is estimated that 25 per cent of public servants in the country are hypertensive, while not less than 10 per cent of the adult population is diabetic.

Most adults in the country are on medication for diabetes, hypertension or other chronic illnesses, a situation which affects the productivity of the workforce.

Dr Amofah, who is a consultant on a project dubbed: “Prevention is better than cure”, cautioned that as a developing country, if in the next 10 years nothing was done about the health needs of the current workforce, the cost implications would be huge for production.

He said as the Ministry of Health (MoH) was striving to control the double burden of diseases in the country through improvement in health service delivery, an integration of comprehensive measures would be an added advantage.

Weak health systems

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe, commended the association for providing quality and constant healthcare services for their workers, as well as the public, when the need arose.

He was represented by the acting Head of the Policy Analysis Unit at the MoH, Dr Emmanuel Odame, who read the minister’s speech.

He said the outbreak of Ebola in 2014 taught the world a bitter lesson, as countries with robust healthcare facilities were able to withstand its devastating effects, while those with weak systems were exposed by the disease.

Dr Bampoe said the ministry was working at improving community-based health planning services (CHPS) to help bring health-care delivery to the doorstep of the people.

The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, said: “Times have changed, and so must we. We cannot address 21st century problems with 20th century bureaucracy.”

Dr Samuel Kaba, the Director of Institutional Care at the GHS, represented Dr Appiah-Denkyira.

Other speakers

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Siegfried Leffler, the Country Director of the German International Cooperation (GIZ), pledged his country’s readiness to help Ghana in the application of preventive measures to achieve quality health care.

The President of the GAQHI, Mr Kwasi Darko Aniagyei, said the association could be a formidable force in providing health care to the public when the need arose.

He said there was the need for a larger section of the public to acquire knowledge in first aid to ensure that people in disaster situations were well taken care of.

The Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin Nyarko, who chaired the conference, said poverty could only be eradicated from the country if it had a healthy workforce.

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