Volta Region reviews healthcare coverage
The acting Volta Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Senanu Djokoto, has called for sustained engagements with stakeholders across government and private sectors to address risk factors to holistic health.
He said significant resources were expended in dealing with the consequences of unhealthy diets, unsafe water and sanitation, polluted environments, dangerous roads and workplaces and the aggressive marketing of products that harmed health.
Speaking at the 2023 half-year Volta Region Health Service performance review at Ho to evaluate the progress made on the 2023 objectives and strategies, Dr Djokoto said primary health care was the foundation of universal health coverage.
“More than 90 per cent of essential health services can be delivered through primary health care, including routine vaccination, prevention and treatment of communicable diseases and services for sexual and reproductive health,” he added.
The event was themed “Achieving Universal Health Coverage through improved access to quality primary health care: The Role of Stakeholders.”
The period under review saw a better performance in the reduction of avoidable maternal, adolescent and child deaths and disabilities.
This included a 0.5 per cent reduction in the stillbirth rate and a 0.1 per cent reduction in institutional Malaria under five-case fatality rate.
The period also maintained its 7/1,000 Institutional Neonatal Mortality Rate per 1,000 records and saw an improvement and a reduction in mortality attributed to unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene at a rate of 0.02 per cent.
While a milestone of the establishment of a functional Regional Maternal Taskforce was achieved, the region still battled increasing maternal mortality, previously recording 65 per 100,000 births in 2022 to 96 per 100,000 in 2023.
This is despite a target of 125 per 100,000.
A presentation on the region’s medical staff revealed an improvement in the midwife-to-population ratio from 1:502 to 1:465, while the doctor-to-population ratio also dropped from 1: 22,277 to 1: 20,307 from 2022 to 2023 respectively.
The nurse-to-population ratio, however, saw an increase with a record of 1:351 in 2022 to 1:421 in 2023, despite a target of 1:450.
Meanwhile, staff attrition to school and the review of posting out of the region have been found to be excessive, coupled with the delay in receiving financial clearance for newly posted staff.
During an open forum following the performance review, the Volta Regional Chief Nursing Officer, Faustine Asante, bemoaned the incessant exodus of nurses from the region and described the phenomenon as a worrying trend.
The region’s health service was also confronted with funding challenges for risk communication, sub-committee meetings and routine health promotion activities.
The service also had to contend with erratic and delays in the supply of framework contract medicines by suppliers, high indebtedness of the region to suppliers, slow debt recovery from the facilities, especially the health centres and CHPS centres, and inadequate space for storage of essential medicines at the Regional Medical Store.
Some suggested remedies to the challenges included lobbying the Ghana Health Service for an adequate supply of standard registers, a continuous capacity building of staff, and intensifying health education on public health intervention and other prevailing health issues, in collaboration with other departments.
The service would also devise strategies, in collaboration with stakeholders at both the regional and district levels, to motivate staff to stay in the region and also integrate mental health service into general practice to facilitate the achievement of universal health coverage objectives.