The University of Ghana Medical Students? Association (UGMSA) in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Ghana Home Loans, on Saturday launched the 47th Annual National Health Week celebration.
The celebration, which begun with a health walk, is to increase public awareness on issues of health for national development.
Mr Ebenezer Dosu, Deputy National Co-ordinator of the NADMO, who delivered a speech on behalf of the National Coordinator, said the Movement, over the years, had taken several measures to prevent the occurrence of disasters, which is in line with their motto ?Prevention Pays.?
He said NADMO, in collaboration with several agencies, had put in place measures to safeguard the country against the outbreak of diseases such as cholera.
Mr Dosu said: ?NADMO indeed is very pleased to be supporting a worthy course, as you embark on a project that will foster healthy interest in the health affairs of the people living in our communities.?
Mr Christopher Charles Oppong, Finance Manager for Ghana Home Loans, said the company had partnered the Association for the past five years to ensure that the health of the citizenry was improved.
He said the company had identified healthcare as a long term plan of the nation that goes in line with the nature of their business ?providing homes for people in the long term?.
Mr Oppong said there was the need for the company to be associate with such important activities which, in the long term, would provide a healthy population and a healthy home.
Mr Robert Nii Amaa Kwei-Nsoro, UGMSA Health Officer, said this year?s project was focused on infant and child mortality on the theme; ?Save a Child Save Our Future?.
He said the theme reflected the need to improve maternal and child health to help Ghana achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG-4) by 2015, adding that ?it is quite alarming that mortality rate of children in Ghana, under the age of five years, is 78% per 1000 live births?.
Dr Beatrice Nyann of the Department of Child Health at the Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said in Ghana 60 out of every 1000 babies delivered did not live to celebrate their first birthday and that the target was to reduce infant and under-five mortality rate by two-thirds to meet the MDG-4 by next year.
She said these children were dying out of preventable conditions and attributed it to top five causes which include pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, neonatal causes and HIV/AIDS.
She said there were key interventions in place to address the identified problems and this includes immunization and anti-natal coverage adding ?some of the problems begin with the mother while the baby is in her womb?.
Dr Nyann said exclusive breastfeeding for children was also one of the interventions explaining that some conditions in which the mothers lived were not the best and there was the need to introduce breastfeeding in the first six months.
She said there was a pilot programme in the three northern regions where home visits were being carried out by community health workers to examine the babies who had been delivered within the first week of life.