GHS pushes for more funding for health promotion strategies

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is pushing for increased funding from government to advance its health promotion strategies across the country to ensure a healthy population.

At a day’s workshop for journalists on a four-year Health Promotion Implementation Policy and Strategic Plan, the Chairman of the Council of the GHS, Dr Yao Yeboah, feared the sharp decline in foreign aid coupled with low government allocation could spell doom for the sector if not reversed.

“Presently, 98 per cent of budgetary allocations to fund health promotion activities in the country are from donor partners with only two per cent coming from government.”

“We hope that in the upcoming budget, much will be done to promote and sustain health activities and avert the many preventable diseases we see in the country so that it is not business as usual,” he appealed.

The workshop was to school journalists on pragmatic strategies in the policy to move the health sector from a curative and clinical state to a preventive one.

Dr Yeboah expressed worry over the high spate of preventable diseases in the country which hugely drained the sector’s finances saying “we spend about 95 per cent of our budget treating diseases that are preventable and contracted through unhealthy lifestyles.”

The Council Chair, also Director for Planning and Development at Pentecost University expressed the GHS’s commitment to ensure that health promotion was given priority in national discourse  and called for strengthened partnership among key stakeholders to sustain the policy.

Presenting highlights of the four-year strategic plan, the Head of the Health Promotion Department of the GHS, Mrs Grace Kafui Annan, hoped the document would go a long way to sustain services that guaranteed a healthy and productive population.

With regards to implementation, she pointed out that plans were far advanced in passing a national health promotion policy by end of the year as the service worked on strengthening capacity and human resources for health promotion.

According to Mrs Annan, the GHS under the plan was also pushing for the creation of a National Health Promotion Council to move health promotion activities from the divisional to a directorate level while ensuring that actions such as gender mainstreaming, advocacy and legislation on employee well-being were incorporated into national labour laws.

“We are hoping to improve health financing for health promotion, improve supervision, monitoring and evaluation programmes and undertake research to support delivery of health promotion interventions,” she stated.

Mrs Annan maintained that “through effective health promotion interventions, all things being equal, uptake of health services will increase and health enhancing behaviours will be adopted to improve health indicators.”

Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, the Chairperson of the Inter-agency Coordinating Committee for Health Promotion (ICC-HP) observed the link between sustaining health promotion to economic development.

She envisaged a safer and healthier country “if we all commit to sustaining health promotions in our daily activities.”

By Abigail Annoh and Allia Noshie

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