The Central Regional Chairman of Ghana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations in Health (GCNH), Mr. Bright Amissah-Nyarko, has said though focus on Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) was justified, it should not compromise efforts to eliminate other diseases.
Mr. Amissah-Nyarko, who was addressing the 6th Regional Civil Society Organisation Health Forum on Thursday, said in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where EVD had been most virulent, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis kills more people than Ebola.
He has therefore appealed for intensified campaign on other equally deadly diseases and health conditions as measures were put in place to prevent an outbreak of EVD in the country.
The Health Forum held in Cape Coast was on the theme ?Promoting Stronger Regional Civil Society and Public Partnership Towards the achievement of the MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015?.
Mr. Amissah- Nyarko said achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 in the quest of reducing child birth and maternal mortality remained a battle for the health sector and the government.
He said though child survival had improved as a result of high impact health care services and economic progress, the current data suggested that one in 11 Ghanaian children died before they reached the age of five largely from preventable childhood diseases.
He enumerated some challenges which were underpinning efforts to achieve the goals to include misconception about the use of family planning methods, inadequate personell with requisite skills to deliver at health facilities coupled with inadequate Emergency Obstetric and Newborn care (EmONC).
?Maternal mortality ratio is unacceptably high and achieving the MDGs 5 target by 2015 is almost impossible but we can work hard to reduce this unacceptable dream of high rate and save the lives of our mothers,? he said.
On cholera, he expressed worry over the increasing number of cases and death in the region and said families and communities should ensure that all cholera related deaths were promptly buried under the supervision of Environmental Health Unit of the affected district.
He appealed for supply of disposable gowns, gloves anti cholera infusion and other consumables which were in short supply at health facilities.
Mr. Amissah- Nyarko also expressed worry that the Region was still a beacon of alarming rate of teenage pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and expressed delight that Human Immune Virus (HIV) had dropped drastically from 4.7 percent in 2012 to 1.1 percent in 2013.
He said malaria continued to be the highest reported medical conditions at the Out Patient Departments in all health facilities of the region and posed a major threat especially to pregnant women and children under age five.
He said though Ghana had made progress in the implementation of the National Malaria Control Programme, there were still gaps in achieving the targets in line with the MDGs.
Mr. Amissah- Nyarko appealed to the private sector, traditional authorities, Ghana Health Service and the general public to join the fight against the health challenges in the region.
The Central Regional Director of the Social Welfare Department, Mr. Jonathan Gyau, said HIV and AIDS campaign had gone down and called for an intensified education and provision of anti-retroviral drugs.
He said teenage pregnancy, especially among basic school final year students, was on the increase and this prevented them from writing their final examination and subsequently ending their academic pursuit.