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The Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is holding a dissemination forum on the “Project for Improvement of Maternal and Neonatal Health Services Utilising CHPS System in Upper West Region”.
The two-day forum, brought together about 100 participants from the Northern, Central, Volta and Eastern Regions, to share good practices, which have been developed and implemented in the project area.
They would also share lessons learned and recommendations for adoption of good practices by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana Health Service (GHS), development partners, and other regions.
Mr Alex Segbefia, the Minister of Health, at the opening ceremony expressed appreciation for the long years of development cooperation between JICA, Japan and Ghana.
He said the optimal implementation of the Ministry’s policy on the Community Based Health and Planning Services (CHPS), as well as improvement of maternal and child health are two important targets towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He said the Ministry would therefore be interested in the in the recommendation birthed out of the project and incorporate them into policy.
Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Acting Regional Director of Health Services and Project Manager in the Upper West Region, said the project, which was the second phase, was initiated in September 2011 through a technical cooperation agreement between the GHS and JICA.
It is to help to address the issue of high maternal and neonatal mortality in the Region through strengthening the CHPS system.
According to him significant progress has been made in the improvement of maternal and neonatal health service, and mentioned key achievements as capacity building of health professionals and workers, the effective functioning of CHPS systems, increased antenatal care, improved skill delivery services and a reduction in maternal and neonatal deaths in the Region.
He said discussions are currently underway to expand the project to other regions in the third phase of the project.
Mr Shigeru Umetsu, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan said his country was pleased to be given the opportunity to support the noble cause of extending quality care to mothers and children in deprived communities towards the attainment of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
He said achieving the UHC is a shared responsibility between Ghana and the donor community and commended the government for the gain made so far in reducing maternal and neonatal deaths.
Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, the Director General of the GHS said the project worked to strengthen the health systems by improving on action-oriented and facilitative supervision, referral and counter-referral, neonatal death audit as well as collaboration between health service providers and the district assemblies.
He said as a result, institutional maternal mortality ratio has reduced from 212 per 100,000 live births to 155.8 per 100,000 live births within the project implementation period while institutional neonatal mortality rate has also recorded a declining trend within the period.
He affirmed the GHS’s commitment towards improving access and quality of health service delivery to communities, and would incorporate the innovations and good lessons learnt in the project into the national protocols in order to accelerate the achievement of the UHC targets.
Mr Koji Makino, the Chief Representative of JICA expressed the need for strong leadership and commitment in the areas of development and management of heath workforce, continuous financing for operational activities and other related issues that influenced the impact of the interventions put in place by the project.
He appealed to the GHS to sustain the gains made through the joint technical cooperation project.