Malaria cases in the Upper West Region reduced from 404,505 in the year 2011 to 360,677 in 2012, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Alexis Nang Beifubah, has said.
He attributed the progress made to the hang up campaign last year during which 374,498 mosquito nets were hanged in 148, 286 households across the region.
Dr Beifubah said the ongoing indoor residual spraying in all the districts also helped in the reduction of the number of recorded malaria cases last year.
Addressing the 2012 annual health review meeting of the GHS in Wa, Dr Beifubah said environmental management was one of the major challenges facing malaria control in the region.
The three-day meeting was on the theme: "Accelerating the achievement of MDG's 4 and 5: The role of customer care at all levels of service delivery."
On maternal deaths, he said it reduced by only one from 29 to 28 in 2012 and said much as the challenges, with respect to maternal deaths, within the GHS were being dealt with, those outside the GHS such as traditional practices and bad roads were still a major problem.
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Dr Beifubah advised against complacency in the handling of cases of meningitis even though there had been a major vaccination throughout the region.
He also expressed disappointment at the poor clinical care at the various health facilities in the region and said the Wa Regional Hospital had only two specialist doctors.
Dr Beifubah, therefore, appealed to the political authorities to intensify their efforts at improving the situation by providing the requisite infrastructure and funds to entice more doctors into the region, adding that health staff must also maintain a positive attitude as they carried out their duties.
In a speech read on his behalf, the caretaker Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, charged all managers of health facilities to establish customer service units to intermittently provide in-house training and refresher courses for employees at all levels.
This, he said, was to forestall incidents whereby poor customer care on the part of health workers drove away patients, particularly mothers and children, who were at the heart of efforts at meeting the fourth and fifth Millenium Development Goals.
"I want to make a passionate appeal to the regional health directorate to be proactive in dealing with issues of misunderstandings and unhealthy relations that might exist among partners in order to smoothen health service delivery in the region."
Mr Sulemana said a comprehensive and good customer care at a health facility was prerequisite at all levels of service delivery and advised health staff to be conscious of how they communicated with patients, delivery of quality care as well as the handling of complaints.
He said health care was a shared responsibility and, therefore, called on all stakeholders to unite, coordinate and cooperate to achieve the desired goals.
Mr Sulemana advised health workers in the region to attach much seriousness to their work and help to reduce infant and maternal mortality.
A former Director-General of the GHS, Dr Elias Sory, who chaired the function, urged people from the three regions of the north, particularly those in the health sector, to consider the enormous challenges confronting their people and dedicate at least a year in their life time to serve them.
Story by Chris Nunoo