FIRST LADY Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has called for increased collaboration among key stakeholders in the health sector towards achieving universal health coverage.
Mrs Akufo-Addo has also asked for the intensification of domestic resource mobilisation and improved social mobilisation and health communication to address the social cultural practices that impede positive health behaviours.
“Continue to also strengthen monitoring and accountability, in order to set the true standards in health care delivery,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said at the opening of the first edition of the Maternal, Childhealth and Nutrition conference in Accra on Tuesday.
She said her work with the Rebecca Foundation and the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation had informed her that “we can only be effective, when we build partnerships and coalitions”.
The three-day conference, being attended by health workers and partners from all over the country and elsewhere, has the theme: ‘Strengthening Partnerships for achieving Universal Health Coverage in Reproductive Maternal, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition’.
Participants would be discussing the progress of work, showcase best practices and share new knowledge on policies and innovations in the health sector.
Mrs Akufo-Addo commended participants for coming together to share and increase evidence for decision making to improve the work as key service providers in the country.
She said she was glad that both her Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation and the Rebecca Foundation were part of a comity of organisations with a shared objective of achieving universal health coverage in reproductive, new-born, child and adolescent health and nutrition.
“Let us also be reminded that the effective management of proven interventions and programmes is a sure way to reduce the prevailing burden of maternal, new-born and child illnesses and deaths,” the First Lady noted.
On early childhood development, Mrs Akufo Addo said “every Ghanaian child must not only survive, but be provided everything needed to ensure their total physical, emotional and cognitive development. I urge all of us to give this due consideration in our deliberations.”
She attributed it partly to the considerable increase in coverage of services to vulnerable groups such as antenatal care, access to skilled care during delivery and babies put to the breast immediately after delivery.
The First Lady, however, expressed regret that “a large number of children, young adolescents and women, continue to die or live with disabilities mostly from preventable causes” and called for more work to be done.
She said pursuing client-oriented healthcare was one of the reasons the Rebecca Foundation was leading the construction of a modern Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
She called on health sector players, including the Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health, health partners and other stakeholders to continue to commit to protecting the lives of Ghanaians.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister of Health, said the Government would continue to make health care a priority by investing in infrastructure, capacity building and other essential resources.
He said the Government was also committed to ensuring a robust health insurance system, as well as the development and implementation of policies such as the free maternal health care services to benefit women and children largely, and by extension the general population as a whole.