The 4th edition of Global Health Watch (GHW4) —a global health monitoring and evaluation report— has been launched in Accra.

GHW is perceived widely as the definitive voice for an alternative discourse on health and integrates rigorous analysis, alternative proposals and stories of struggles and change to present a compelling case for the imperative to work for a radical transformation of the way actions and policies on health are approached.


GWH4 was co-ordinated by five Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), namely People’s Health Movement (PHM), Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES), Health Action International, Third World Network-Africa and Medact, a group of Charity-for-Health professionals that work to improve health worldwide.


The launch, which took place under the auspices of PHM-Ghana, was on the theme: “Watchdogging an Essential Element to Ensuring the Right to Health”.


In a key note address to launch the Report, Dr Joseph Amuzu, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), stressed the need to not only watch global health, but also monitor national health.


Dr Amuzu said the role of watchdogging was very critical, if not imperative, in ensuring that there was sustained investment by governments to improve the health of the people. He, therefore, called on CSOs to partner with the media to keep watch over national health and keep policy makers on their toes, adding that GHW4 should be reviewed, simplified and presented to the public in order to make an impact.


For his part, Mr Kingsley Pereko, the National Co-ordinator, PHM-Ghana, noted that Ghana’s public health system continued to be underfunded, adding that the fight for a just and equitable health system had to be part of the broader struggle for comprehensive rights and entitlements.


Speaking on sanitation, an aspect of the Report, Mr Benjamin Arthur, Executive Director, Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizatios (NGOs) in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), disclosed that poor sanitation and open defaecation cost Ghana US $290 and US $79 million respectively, annually, while US $54 million was spent on health care delivery annually.


Mr Arthur underscored the importance of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as a process that raises awareness and empowers all actors of rural communities to avoid outdoor defecation, as well as promotes the construction and use of latrines with their own resources.


He said to reduce the disease burden in Ghana, sanitation and hygiene should be improved, latrine coverage increased and funds generated locally to promote and sustain behaviour change and attitudes towards sanitation and hygiene practices.


In a presentation on the Report, Mr Selorme Kofi Azumah, Senior Advisor, IPAS-Ghana, outlined key challenges identified in the Report that should be addressed to ensure the desired results in health care delivery.


These challenges, Mr Azumah said, were unsafe abortion which is responsible for most cases of maternal mortality; untreatable childbirth complications; unmet needs for family planning and inadequate functioning of health systems.


He, therefore, called for collaborative efforts to ensure universal access to reproductive and sexual health; increased and sustained investment in reproductive health, particularly family planning; equitable and improved distribution of human resources for health; and improved health infrastructure.


In his remarks, Dr Koma Jehu-Appiah, Country Director, IPAS-Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, noted that CSOs had a major role to play in health care delivery, hence the need to be part of health policy decisions


He said IPAS-Ghana was a key voice in a national coalition of government stakeholders and non-profit organizations united to reduce maternal deaths and injuries, and pledged to collaborate with PHM-Ghana in working towards a common goal.


Present at the launch was Ms Linda Shuro, Africa Regional Outreach Co-ordinator of PHM.


Ms Shuro, in a presentation, said PHM was a global network that brought together grassroots health activists, CSOs and academic institutions from around the world, particularly from low- and middle-income countries (L&MIC).


She said with a presence in about 70 countries, and guided by the People’s Charter for Health (PCH), PHM worked on various programmes and activities and was committed to Comprehensive Primary Health Care and addressing the Social, Environmental and Economic Determinants of Health.


Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)

Created: 28 August 2015
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