The 2021 consultation forum of the Department of Development and Social Services (DSS) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana opened on Wednesday at Abokobi, district capital of the Ga East Municipality of Greater Accra Region.
The four-day event would afford managers of the 55 health institutions of the church, including the six-agriculture stations and its relief organisations take stock of the previous year’s activities and chart a new way forward.
The occasion would also be used to adopt policy decisions aimed at injecting modernisation into its activities as well as share decisions taken at the conference with policy makers to promote good agricultural and health practices in communities where their facilities operate.
It has the theme: “Demonstrating the Light of Jesus Christ through Social Services.”
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church Rt. Reverend, Professor Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, speaking at the opening ceremony, said the provision of social services was a core mandate Jesus Christ gave to humanity, hence the need to support the spiritual and social needs of communities the church operates.
According to him, the church established its health mission 136 years ago at Aburi in the Eastern Region which has benefitted thousands of people living in other rural areas in Asante–Akyem, Bolgatanga, Bawku, Salaga, Afram Plains, Tamale Rural and Enchi.
Rt. Rev. Mante stated that, the church currently has a total work force in its health sector of about 3,650.
He said even though it was the primary responsibility of government to provide health services to the citizenry, government alone cannot bear that huge responsibility, hence the need for private sector participation to complement government efforts.
Rev. Prof Mante bemoaned the refusal of health professionals accepting posting to rural areas and urged government to take steps to address the anomaly.
On agriculture, he said the church established poverty reduction programmes in all 16 regions, improved the livelihood of 200,000 small holder farmers, and trained over 25,000 women in quality shea butter production.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Kwabena Boadu Oko-Afari said, though steady progress towards improving the health and well being of Ghanaians has been made, more efforts were needed to adequately address some challenges.
He lauded the decision of the Presbyterian Church to establish churches in rural areas and expressed optimism that the 111 District Hospital project by government would be completed to ensure a universal health service for all.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Rev. John Manu, pledged 10 tractors to the church to aid its agricultural activities.
The Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Dr Peter Yeboah commended the Church for helping improve the holistic development of the Ghanaian child.
The Presbyterian Church had its first chapel built in 1860 by Johanness Zimmermann and Augustus W. Steinhauser in Abokobi.
FROM LAWERENCE VOMAFA – AKPALU,ABOKOBI