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Health News of Friday, 29 February 2008

Source: GNA

Greater Accra to establish Hypertension and Diabetes Clinics

Accra, Feb. 29, GNA - The Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate will soon establish hypertension and diabetes clinics in most of the primary care facilities in the region to offer special attention to those diseases.

The Directorate will also step up education on issues related to nutrition and regenerative health in response to the increasing rate of hypertension and diabetes cases in the region with most of districts ranking them as third most frequently reported diseases. Dr Irene Agyapong-Amarteyfio, Greater Accra Regional Health Director said these at the end of the region's 2007 annual sector performance review on Friday in Accra.

She said records from Ridge Hospital, Accra indicated that hypertension related complications such as stroke came up as increasing causes of mortality.

She noted that hypert ension and diabetes had become a public health problem in the region due to the poor eating lifestyles of the people, adding that, the region in 2002, recorded 4.32 per cent but had risen to 5.7 in 2007.

Greater Accra has a population of almost 4 million with a total fertility rate of 2.9 per cent from the 2003 Ghana Demographic Health Survey attributed to the migration of unskilled rural migrants in search of non-existing jobs.

Dr Agyepong-Amarteyfio said the region, though had a vision of improving health status and reduce inequalities in health outcomes of all people living in the region; improving the quality of care in institutions remained a major problem.

She explained that workloads, inadequate financing, inadequate infrastructure, tools and equipment were also problems facing the region.

With the high population in the region and the hospital facilities not seeing any expansion, space had become limited making congestion very severe.

"Old infrastructure remains essentially unchanged without expansions despite population increases and places like Ridge and Maamobi are clear examples".

She mentioned Madina, Dome Taifa, Weija, Mallam Odokor and Dansoman as some of the rapidly growing peripheral areas that were not getting any new infrastructure and needed more attention. The Regional Health Director said maternal deaths was also a major problem with Accra recording 109 for 2007 as against 87 in 2006, whilst Tema recorded an increase of 31 maternal deaths for 2007 as against 27 in 2006.

Dambge East recorded the highest of 967 maternal deaths in 2007 followed by Ridge with 540 deaths, Tema 518 deaths and La hospital recording 186 maternal deaths.

"As part of the measures to reduce maternal deaths, the region is introducing an award scheme for the hospital or clinic that will record a low death rate and there are signs of competition, which tells us that we will achieve something better for this year".

Dr Agyepong-Amarteyfio complained of staffing, which contributed to inequalities, and funding, adding, "internally generated funds of pocket payments remained the source of funds for recurrent expenditure and this has its own inherent inequalities".

She called for external funds to support the region achieve their vision and commended health workers in the region for their hard work in 2007 and urged them to ensure to exceed their performance this year. Sheik I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Ministe,r in a speech read for him commended heath workers in the region but complained that health infrastructure in the region remained concentrated in the Accra metropolis despite the fact that periphery areas were the fastest growing areas.

He called for the establishment of a polyclinic in Dansoman, Mallam, Weija and Taifa to serve their increasing populations adding; "it is my expectation that you will be guided by these needs when you prepare your strategic plans for now and the ensuring years". He complained about the long hours that insured patients had to spend at the health facilities before being attended to and appealed to health workers to treat all patients who come before them equally. Sheik Quaye also appealed to the National Health Insurance Council to expedite payment to providers to enable them to render timely and quality services to clients adding; "the bureaucratic barriers must be reduced to make way for prompt payment to service providers to sustain confidence in the scheme."

Hospitals, polyclinics, training institutions which excelled for the year of 2007 were awarded and donors received certificates of honour to acknowledge their contribution in improving health care delivery in the region. 29 Feb. 08

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