MOH courts media support for behavioural change

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has courted the support of the media to promote behavioural change and encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles among citizens, for effective nation building.

Dr Elorm Hillary Otchi, member of a Technical Team implementing two newly-developed policies by the MOH, said this was critical to reduce disease burden, deaths and promote longevity in the country as the health sector shifts towards preventive and promotive care rather than curative care.

He was speaking at a dissemination meeting for selected journalists in Accra yesterday on Ghana’s roadmap for attaining Universal Health Coverage (2020-2030) and the revised National Health Policy (NHP), aimed at advancing health service delivery.

While Ghana’s UHC seeks to ensure that all people have timely access to high quality health services irrespective of ability to pay at the point of use, the NHP seeks to leverage on a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society” approach in addressing the economic, environmental and social determinant of health.

According to Dr Otchi, although Ghana had made progress in achieving global health targets over the years, the improvement had been slow because “we have not adequately addressed in a comprehensive manner all the key determinants of health.”

“Historically, major health problems that affected Ghanaians were communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional diseases but in the last decade we are seeing a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), resulting in increasing deaths among other conditions largely influenced by our physical environment, socio-economic situation and lifestyle choices,” he said.

The Head of Quality and Patient Safety at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) held that promoting quality health for all, was multisectoral with a greater responsibility on individuals.

“Health is produced by us and preventing illnesses is a responsibility people must bear and not blame health facilities solely when things do not go well. We want to reduce the number of people visiting our health centres by encouraging people to adopt healthy lifestyles.

If the media is able to consciously align its activities with health in mind, we believe it can help change attitudes at the basic level and make people more responsible for their health so that we can build a healthy population,” he said.

The Deputy Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Andrews Ayim, said the Service was periodically upgrading its cadres of workers across the country to improve specialised care for all persons.

He encouraged Ghanaians to enrol onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to be able to access basic healthcare services at “every point of care” adding that “as government links the NHIS to other national cards, we should be able to gradually identify all Ghanaians, improve service coverage and access to healthcare on the scheme.”

Dr Ayim urged the media to champion the cause of re-orienting citizens on their health saying; “people must begin to see health as an investment and not expenditure so that in how we eat, in our sexual behaviour and other behaviour patterns we are mindful of the end results.”

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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