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Educate citizens on their health rights – GNA

By
Rashid Mbugri, Frederica Kyeremanteng, Naa Shormei Odonkor, Rose Wayo, GNA

Tamale, July 22, GNA –
Mrs Yaa Oforiwaa Asare-Peasah, the Director of Editorial, Ghana News Agency
(GNA), has called on journalists to use their media platforms to educate
citizens on their health rights and ensure that government performed its role
effectively.

She said this would
help reduce the inequality in health service delivery at both the district and
national levels.

Mrs Asare-Peasah made
the call at a two-day workshop for GNA regional correspondents and members of
the Media Communication and Advocacy Network (MCAN) on the People for Health
project (P4H) in Tamale.

The P4H is a five-year
project – March 2016 to March 2021- funded by the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID).

The project is being
implemented in 20 districts of four regions to ensure improved access to
quality health service delivery.

It seeks to strengthen
organisational and institutional capacities of government and civil society
organisations (CSOs) for mutual accountability in health, HIV, water,
sanitation and hygiene, family planning and nutrition policy formulation and
implementation.

A consortium of three
organisations is implementing the project in the Greater Accra, Eastern,
Northern and Volta regions led by SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation
(NGO) with Penplusbytes, an NGO, and the Ghana News Agency as partners.

Mrs Asare-Peasah said
although Ghana had improved in the provision of health services some areas in
the country had not attained the expected results leading to high maternal
mortality, HIV/AIDS infections and malaria among others which remained a
challenge.

She, however, pledged
GNA’s support in ensuring that the project was successfully implemented and
help to increase citizens’ voice to demand for improved access to quality
health services.

Madam Aisha Mohammed,
the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of SEND-Ghana, said the project
sought to leverage opportunities for change, build on consortium members’ good
relations with local governments and district health management teams and
USAID’s initiatives in the health sector.

She said: “The
consortium’s emphasis on social accountability will increase CSO leadership,
mobilise communities and key populations to demand quality delivery of health
programmes, promote accountability in the use of health resources and
simultaneously maximise the responsiveness of health service providers.”

The project, she
noted, would improve inclusiveness and equity and make the country a model for
health systems which served the people according to their needs

She expressed worry
about late referral, poorly equipped health infrastructure, and pregnancy
disorders among other things, which contributed to high mortality and said
those must be addressed.

Madam Mohammed noted
that poor attitude of health professionals also contributed to some patients
being maltreated and their rights abused. 

She said
discrimination and stigmatisation against vulnerable groups including Key
Populations (prostitutes, gays and lesbians), women and youth, the weak
capacity of CSOs and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to demand
accountability for quality service delivery, and lack of awareness on Patients’
Rights contributed to abuse of rights of patients.

Ms Mohammed explained
that weak policies and socio-cultural practices were barriers that prevented
vulnerable groups such as the KPs from accessing healthcare. 

She called on CSOs and
CBOs to demand accountability for quality service delivery, create awareness on
Patients’ Rights and Code of Ethics to prevent their rights from being abused.

“If civil society is
strengthened in a way that increases citizen input into Ghana’s health and HIV
development process, Ghana’s health system will be more participatory and
responsive to the needs of the beneficiary population.

“And our interventions
will work towards achieving USAID goal of Equitable Improvements in Health
Status,” she said.

GNA

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