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General News of Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Source: GNA

Ghana needs healthy people - Quashigah

Accra, Oct. 9, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health on Tuesday said the country could achieve a middle-income status if only the human capital required for sustained economic development was healthy, intelligent, strong and active.

"We can do this if we are able to reduce the disease burden drastically in the shortest possible time." Major Quashigah told journalists at the meet-the-press series organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra that there was the need for a realistic, innovative and resourceful people to make meaningful contribution to achieve the national objectives and called for a scale up on regenerative health and nutrition programme. He said the Ministry would thus dialogue with its education counterparts to make health education, Nutrition and the principles of regenerative health part of curricula and examinable subjects in the junior and senior high school levels. The adoption and implementation of the new paradigm shift, he said, would mean promoting housing and town planning, safe water, nutrition and safe food, regular exercise, rest and recreation and personal hygiene.

He pledged his support to the National Health Insurance Scheme and noted, "The ministry will make sure that it works and works well and ensure that the health work force is productive and responsive". The Minister said government would address the issue of quality care in hospital particularly in the management of emergencies, promote effective regulation of traditional and alternative medical practice and ensure a multi-sectoral, collaborative action for health. He said; "If only we understand how we are made by God and obey his instructions as contain in his Holy writings on maintaining clean environment, drink sufficient water in the day to cleanse the inside of our bodies, eat the right food to nourish our bodies, exercise to invigorate the organs to function properly and rest sufficiently to regain our strength to carry on with daily activities then we will make rapid progress in achieving higher standards in health throughout the country".

On the recent floods that hit the three Northern Region and some part of the Western Region, he said apart from the extensive destruction of infrastructure, it also had the potential to erode gains made so far in the health sector.

He expressed concern about its effect on the efforts to scale up the High Impact Delivery Programme to reduce maternal and child mortality as well as recent initiative to eradicate guinea worm. "We cannot afford to relax. Our surveillance and epidemic response systems must continue to be on the high alert even at this stage when the general perception is that the worst is over", he added.