Late Referrals contribute to high mortality rate – SEND-Ghana

Tamale, 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.

Source: Ghana News Agency