Dubbed: “National Citizens’ Hearing,” the event provides a unique platform and opportunity for dialogue between citizens, representatives of civil society organisations, and key accountability stakeholders, sharing and discussing best practices of citizen engagement and social accountability.
The suggestions include the provision of more friendly school environment with recreational facilities in rural communities, government should implement the newly adopted and launched Child and Family Welfare Policy.
There should also be an assurance of a sustainable electricity supply for enhanced economic activities, quality livelihood and improved health care services.
Mr Sagane Thiaw, the Acting National Director of the World Vision Ghana, at the opening in Accra, said the event helps in shaping how citizen-led accountability could be more systematically included in accountability mechanisms of the state for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, including the SDGs, as well as the updated Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
It also inspires citizens from local to national levels to dialogue with policy and decision makers, he said.
According to him the World Vision Ghana conducted community consultations on the SDGs in March and found out that majority of the citizenry were ignorant about it, and indicated that when citizens are well informed, they could through their voices make key recommendations and contribute to the country’s growth.
He said it therefore concluded that the low knowledge among key stakeholders of the SDGs could be the main challenge that could hinder the implementation of the development goals and might affect the effective incorporation and monitoring of the SDGs in national policy and programme frameworks.
Mr Thiaw therefore urged government to speed up the integration of the SDGs into the country’s development framework, and localise the goals to the understanding of the ordinary citizen to improve dialogue and accountability to citizens.
He called for strengthened inter sectoral collaboration in the efforts to reduce child and maternal mortality and morbidity, and affirmed the World Vision’s commitment to continue supporting the country on a sustainable basis towards the implementation process of the SDGs.
Dr Felix Addo Yobbo, the Deputy Director in charge of Environmental Policy at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in a presentation on Ghana’s strategy to implement the SDGs, with emphasis on health, called for the harmonisation of all strategies and interventions aimed at achieving universal health care for all.
He also called for the generation of a comprehensive data base that would aid in the development of the appropriate policies and ensure equal distribution of resources.
According to him under the MDGs there were skewed support and imbalances in resource allocations to the various sections of the health care system, leaving others orphaned.
He urged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to harmonise their plans and programmes to align with the Agenda 2063 of the NDPC, set realistic targets and share their experiences both good and bad ones, in order to improve upon the gaps and weakness identified in the MDGs, particularly those on health.
Dr Kwesi Asabir, a Deputy Director in Charge of Human Resource Development at the Ministry of Health, said human resource was realized to have been skewed towards one side and that accounted for the deficiencies and gaps in the total achievement of the MDGs.
He said these challenges would be addressed through careful reshuffles of health workers to ensure equity.
He also cited the establishment of the Community-Based Health Planning and Services Compound as an effective and additional intervention to close the equity gap in health care delivery system to ensure that the health-related SDGs were attained by the stipulated date.