Stakeholders discuss SDGs at Bolgatanga

Cross section of stakeholders at the Regional Health Dialogue forum

Cross section of stakeholders at the Regional Health Dialogue forum

The acute shortage of critical staff such as doctors and radiographers, poor road networks and poor siting of health facilities have been identified as major challenges against the attainment of health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets in the Upper East Reigion.

This came to light during a Stakeholders Regional Health Dialogue held at Bolgatanga, the regional capital here on Friday.

The stakeholders who included health practitioners, the Ghana Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Platform on SDGs, technocrats from government institutions and the private sector also mentioned the lack of transportation and ignorance of the availability of services as some factors militating against the region’s efforts at attaining the SDGs targets.

The theme of the dialogue was “Achieving the Health- related SDGs in the Upper East Region: Prospects, challenges and the way forward.”

It was organised by STAR Ghana Foundation in partnership with the Ghana CSO Platform on SDGs and the Presbyterian Church Ghana Health Service and facilitated by the Presbyterian Church, Ghana Health Service and the Association of Church-based Development NGOs (ACDEP).

It was meant to brainstorm on the challenges confronting the health sector in the region, particularly health- related SDGs goal three and to put in place pragmatic measures to support the Ghana Health Service to fast-track the attainment of the health- related SDGs targets of goal three.

Responding to the challenges,   the Upper East Regional Minister, Ms Paulina Abayage,  in  a speech read  for her by the Regional Coordinating Director , Alhaji Mahamadu Azonko,  stated that the  government  was aware of the challenges raised and had put in place a number of strategies to help  address the them.

She stressed that as part of the strategies the government had made infrastructure provision her first strategic pillar in the 2019 budget and indicated that an amount of two billion dollars had been earmarked to provide infrastructure of which the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Polimakom, Chuculiga-Sandema- Weisi and Navrongo-Naaga roads have been included.

Ms Abayage, stated that apart from the region also benefiting from the provision of 162 units of motor tricycles ambulances and 28 rural health centres next year, a total of 40,000 nurses would also be recruited in the same year to boost the health staff strength in the region.

The Regional Minister called for effective collaboration for the attainment of the SDGs and urged the stakeholders to continue to work to provide financing, capacity strengthening, advocacy, legal and policy frameworks, research, knowledge and required data.

The Project Director of the Presbyterian Health Innovation Project, Mr Maxwell Akadem said he was very happy that the forum had afforded the stakeholders the opportunity to interrogate the issues affecting the health sector and providing strategies to confront them.

He said in spite of the fact that quality health care played a major role to enhancing the productivity of the nation, budgetary allocation to the sector was low, making  the country  to rely heavily on development partners as more than 70 per cent of the  funding of the sector came from donor partners.

The Deputy Regional Director of Health Services in charge of Clinical Care, Dr Razak Dokurugu, stated that despite the fact that the region was making some strides in social media and telemedicine in healthcare delivery, there was the need for all stakeholders to join hands with the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service to work toward attaining the SDGs and Universal Health Coverage.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA  

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