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Late Referrals contribute to high mortality rate – SEND-Ghana

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

Tamale, July 23, GNA –
Late referrals, poorly equipped infrastructure, and pregnancy disorders among
others have been identified as contributory factors to the high mortality rate
in Ghana, Ms Aisha Mohammed, the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation officer of
SEND-Ghana, has said. 

She said there were
numerous challenges affecting healthcare delivery in the country which needed
timely interventions to revert.

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

Ms Mohammed said this
in Tamale 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).

The P4H is a five-year
project – March 2016 to March 2021- funded by the USAID to ensure improved
access to quality health service delivery for citizens in 20 districts selected
from four regions.

It is currently being
implemented in 15 districts in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Northern and Volta
regions.

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 led by SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental
organisation (NGO), with Penplusbytes an NGO, and the Ghana News Agency as
partners.

Ms Mohammed said the
project seeks to leverage opportunities for change, build on consortium
members’ existing good relations with local governments, District Health
Management teams and the USAID ongoing initiatives in the health sector.

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

Ms Mohammed said
vulnerable groups such as KPs (prostitutes, gays, lesbians and People Living
with HIV/AIDS) found it difficult accessing key healthcare services due to weak
standards and key policy programmes.

She said
socio-cultural practices that created conditions for stigmatisation and
discrimination against vulnerable groups were challenges KPs face in 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 ensure that patients’ rights were not
abused.

Mr Kwabena Tabiri of
Penplusbytes, an Information Technology Company, said his organisation, in
partnership with the P4H Project, had created an online mechanism where
patients could report concerns regarding healthcare service delivery in various
facilities.

“The online platform
is a shift from the suggesting box system, which is not functioning in most
healthcare institutions,” he said, adding that reports made would be followed
up, investigated and rectified.

Mr Tarbiri said his
outfit was training health service providers, citizens and KPs to use a technology
platform to engage and send feedback to each other on access to quality health
services.                       

The platform would
provide and share information on maternal and child health, family planning,
reproductive health, malaria, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and
HIV/AIDS and protect the anonymity of users.

Penplusbytes, in
partnership with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
(CHRAJ), will appraise an existing online platform for reporting stigma and
discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS and KPs.

Ms Justina Anglaaere,
a Board Member of SEND-Ghana, called for advocacy and accountability programmes
involving the media to fully understand and raise issues related to P4H for
improved healthcare.

Dr Doris Aglobitse,
Patron of the MCAN, called on journalists to assist in ensuring that citizens
were well educated on the Patients’ Charter and Code of Ethics to enable them
to demand for quality health services.

Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei,
Project Coordinator for GNA, who took participants through the role of the
Agency and MCAN on the project, urged journalists to consistently investigate
and disseminate information that would help KPs and Persons Living with HIV and
AIDs to demand for effective health service delivery.

She said GNA reporters
and MCAN members would help the District Citizens Monitoring committees to
identify issues and monitor commitments to ensuring high standards in service
delivery and hold government accountable.

Mr. Isaac Lartey, the
Northern Regional Information Officer of the Ghana Health Service, expressed
gratitude to the consortium for the laudable initiative and assured the media
of the Service’s full cooperation and support in providing them with accurate
information.

GNA

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