Gov’t Asked To Increase Health Budget

Mr. Hubert D. Charles, National Director of World Vision Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has urged the government to increase the budgetary allocation for the health sector to improve service delivery, particularly maternal and child health.

He expressed worry that despite government’s efforts to improve maternal and child health, too many mothers and children were dying in Ghana.

Mr Charles, who made the call at a meeting between the Ghana Coalition on Health, the NGO and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, in Accra on Thursday, noted that out of every 100,000 child live births, 380 women lost their lives, while out of every 1,000 births 82 children died.

He said “it is unacceptable that women should die through pregnancy-related conditions and during childbirth, and children should die before age five”.

He noted that close to 40 per cent of children under age five deaths were recorded in Ghana during the first 28 days.

Mr Charles, who was presenting a position paper on “Child Health Now,” seeking the health of women and children,  said malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition and diarrhea were killing children.

He said poor accessibility to hospital, the inability of expectant mothers to reach hospital early for child birth, as well as poor implementation of existing policies, among other factors, were causing maternal mortality.

Mr. Charles reminded the government of Ghana’s pledge in 2001 to spend 15 per cent of the total national expenditure on health in line with the Abuja Declaration by 2015.

According to him, Ghana was expected to meet the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

Mr Charles said there was urgent need to reduce neonatal mortality, adding that a majority of those who died were from poor homes in the rural areas as well as those in the lower education bracket and the disadvantaged.

Mr. Charles said as the deadline drew near, most African countries were yet to allocate 15 per cent of their annual budget to health, despite Africa’s booming economic prospects.

Dr. Richard Anane, Member of Parliament  for Nhyiaeso, and member of the committee, said his outfit would champion the concerns raised at the meeting, on  the floor of Parliament, while Mr Wisdom Gidisu, MP for Krachi East, also a member of the committee, called on Ghanaians to contribute towards the improvement of health, considering its importance to national development.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour

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