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WHO urges Member States to strengthen health systems

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Dr Francis Chisaka Kasolo
Dr Francis Chisaka Kasolo

Dr Francis Chisaka Kasolo, the Country Representative for World Health Organization (WHO) to Ghana, has urged Member States of the organization to strengthen health systems to protect everyone.

He said strengthening health systems to provide quality healthcare using a Primary Health Care approach was a sure way to achieving Universal Health Coverage and the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health had been a pathfinder in this direction.

Dr Kasolo said this in his remarks at the global meeting of the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Accra.

The Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and the Ministry of Health, Ghana are co-organizing the fifth meeting of the Quality of Care Network on the theme “Sustaining and Scaling Up Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health”.

The three-day meeting was under the auspices of the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners from all stakeholder groups.

It is being attended by over 180 participants drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Uganda, the Ivory Coast, Malawi, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.

The meeting aims to engage the champions from governments, implementing partners and other stakeholders to reflect on five years of efforts to integrate and systematize quality of care in health systems and maternal, newborn and child health programmes.

Dr Kasolo said five years ago, in February 2017, 10 countries with the support of WHO, UNICEF and in collaboration with partners, came together to establish the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health with the aim to ensure that “Every woman, child and adolescent receives quality care throughout the continuum of care” and ultimatly, to end preventable morbidities and mortalities.

This, he said was in recognition of the critical role of quality healthcare in achieving Universal Health Coverage and the health related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Kasolo said the work in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health had generated valuable lessons on how to integrate quality within the health system from the policy level to the facility level where the impact on the individual client experience and outcome is hinged.

“It has been five years and all the Network countries including Ghana have made great progress in strengthening the health system to provide quality care in general and for mothers and children in particular,” he said.

He applauded the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the other agencies of the Ministry for the palpable impact on healthcare care quality and outcomes.

He said the emphasis on the experience of care and engagement of the community in this regard provided a good example to scale up across Network countries.

He said it was prudent that they had set aside j three days to reflect on the successes and challenges and to reassess how this work should be moved forward to address the emerging and unfinished agenda of Quality of Care in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services; adding that it was also a good opportunity to learn from each other.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Health Minister urged member states of the WHO to promote the wellbeing of mothers and children, and ensure that they were protected from avoidable emergencies.

Dr Anshu Banerjee, World Health Organization (WHO) Acting Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage said: “We must take every step to integrate quality of care into health service delivery at all levels of care”.

Mr Ebrima Sarr, UNICEF – Ghana Deputy Representative-Operations, said UNICEF had been working closely with the Government of Ghana to ensure that no child was let behind as far as health was concerned.

He said as global partners gather, it was his hope that the three-day conference would be an opportunity for cross-learning to achieve more for mothers, newborns and children.

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