Dr Yao Yeboah, Chairman of the Ghana Health Service Council, has stressed the need for healthy lifestyles and behaviour, such as washing hands with soap before meals, for the prevention of diseases.


Dr Yeboah, who was addressing a Media Sensitisation Workshop on Health Promotion Implementation Policy and Strategic Plan in Accra, yesterday, October 9, 2018, noted that Health was one of the key areas through which the country tried to create wealth and reduce poverty, adding that the role of health in the quality of human capital was universally known.


He said Ghana's approach to improving the quality of health involved a gradual shift of emphasis from curative health to health promotionan initiative to encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles, make health an everyday thing and make healthy behaviour a good habit.


He expressed disappointment at the situation where  98 percent of funding for health promotion in Ghana was provided by foreign donor partners, while the Government of Ghana provided only 2 two percent.


Dr Yeboah said for the sustainability of health promotion funding, the trend should change with increased Government contribution.


He disclosed that Plans were far advanced for the Health Promotion (HP) Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to be elevated to a Divisional or Directorate status, as one of the measures to enhance HP for a healthier population.


In a presentation, Mr Paul Okyere, a lecturer, cited Article 25 (1) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”


Mr Okyere also cited the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)3 (Good health and well-being) which makes a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030 and, thereby, achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and affordable medicines, and vaccines for all.


He said claiming the right under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and achieving SDG 3 required a healthy public policy and a supportive environment by Government while individuals should ensure child vaccination, seek prompt medical attention and undertake regular physical exercises.


Mrs Grace Kafui Annan, Deputy Director, Health Promotion Department (HPD), GHS, who  took participants through the Health Promotion Strategic Plan,  noted that until 2005, health promotion had not been recognized as a technical field in Ghana and that there had not been any policy direction to guide health promotion.


Mrs Annan disclosed that in 2005, the first Health Promotion Policy was drafted, but was without a Strategic Plan to operationalise it.


She disclosed that in response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) recommendation for formal policies on Health Promotion, and taking into consideration the shortcomings of the first draft HP Policy in 2005, the HP Policy review started in 2013 and ended in 2016 to place it within the context of national, regional and international practice and the SDGs.


She disclosed that the process for the development of a National Strategic Plan started in 2014 and ended in 2016, adding that the development of the Plan was influenced by the initiation of a joint United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored project between Communicate for Health (C4H) and the HPD in 2014, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Mr Edward Adimazoya, Deputy Chief of Party, USAID, who delivered a presentation on the C4H Project, disclosed that the five-year project (November 2014ꟷNovember 2019) had Family Planning, Malaria Prevention and Case Management, Maternal, New-born and Child Health Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and HIV/AIDS as its technical focus areas.


Mr Adimazoya said with an US $ 18 million funding, a media campaign dubbed: Refreshed Goodlife, live it well brand was being rolled out, with 52 per cent of the total budget tagged exclusively for radio, print and television in USAID priority areas of the  North, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and the Western regions.


He said a TV and Radio media campaign dubbed: Slice of Life would also be rolled out with endorsements by the first Lady of Ghana, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, while an HPD Resource Centre and regional hubs would be completed and launched before December 2018.


In her remarks, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Co-ordinating Committee for Health Promotion (ICC-HP), reiterated the point that if health promotion services were consistently provided, hospitals would not be crowded and there would be greater life expectancy with positive impact on national development.


Prof. Gadzekpo, therefore, urged the media to fully support the HP Project and offer criticisms, where necessary, for the success of the initiative.


Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney, Esq.)


Created: 10 October 2018
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