Canada, UNICEF to ease COVID-19 burden on health system in A/R

Health Ambassador Investment
Health Ambassador Investment

The Canadian Government has invested ten million Canadian Dollars in various health interventions in the Ashanti Region to ease the burden on the health system due to the impact of COVID-19.
Four hospitals in the region including Ejisu, Mampong, Bekwai and Nkawie are benefitting from the financial package, which is targeting the improvement in quality health, nutrition, hygiene, water and sanitation services.
The interventions, which are being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also seeks to improve care for mothers, newborns and children as a whole.
One year after the Canadian Ambassador to Ghana announced the financial package, 900 community health nurses, 800 midwives, 100 environmental health officers, and 700 community health committee members have been trained to deliver quality services.
More than 4,700 community outreaches have been undertaken by health care workers to deliver essential health and nutrition services to communities.
In order to assess the impact of the various interventions on the lives of citizens, especially mothers and newborns, the Canadian Ambassador, Kati Csaba and officials of UNICEF led by the Country Representative, Anne Claire Dufay have visited the region.
They paid a courtesy call on the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei Mensah, monitored the COVID-19 vaccination exercise at the Suntreso Government Hospital before proceeding to the Ejisu Hospital where the Ambassador inaugurated a neonatal unit.
She also handed over some hospital equipment procured as part of the financial package to the facility.
The Ambassador said COVID-19 had created a difficult operating environment and continued to generate challenges in health systems within the global supply chain, but with partnership and perseverance the challenge would be surmounted.
She said as the spread of COVID-19 burdened the health system of the country, it increasingly limited the capacity to deliver the routine health services provided by maternal, newborn and child health clinics.
“The overstretched health systems coupled with decreased visits to health clinics meant that mothers, babies and children did not have access to critical and timely care,” she noted.
She said Canada saw the need to collaborate with UNICEF and the Ghana Health Service, to ease the burden of reduced access to services by investing in the strengthening of health systems to ensure continuity of access to quality reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services.
The Ambassador said apart from upgrading the diagnostic capacities of the four hospitals, oxygen infrastructure had been provided for 15 other health care centres with an investment in maternal and neonatal units of six hospitals.
She was optimistic that the interventions would significantly impact the lives of residents in beneficiary communities and called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to improve health outcomes.
Anne Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, said the pandemic had a significant impact on the Ashanti Region, which recorded the second highest number of cases.
She said the region also had the burden of neonatal mortality rate of 52 per 1000 live births and under five mortality rate of 79 per 1000 live births.
“It has, therefore, been particularly important to focus efforts on both strengthening the capacity of health workers and adequate facilities to ensure that mothers, newborns and children could receive good quality health care,” she observed.

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