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Health News of Thursday, 14 February 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor: Health care integral to human devt

Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday said a robust health delivery programme was integral to Human Resource Development and the achievement of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Delivering his last State of the Nation address to Parliament in Accra, he said it was for such a reason that government had begun rehabilitation programmes for all the Regional hospitals and District Health Posts across the country.
He said capacity building within the sector and improvements in the conditions of service of health workers were ongoing. "Currently, the main driving force of health delivery is captured in the adage 'prevention is better than cure,'" he said. President Kufuor said the focus was on disease prevention and promotion of healthy lifestyles that included healthy eating, at home and in schools, physical exercise, use of potable water and environmental cleanliness.
He said to provide safe water for good health, government policy had involved provision of boreholes and hand-dug wells as well as major rehabilitation works on urban water supply systems.
"These are ongoing in all the regions. They include the Accra-Weija-Kpong loop which is under construction and will be completed this year to bring great relief to people of the capital, the Kwanyaku Water Supply Expansion Project, the Cape Coast Water Supply Expansion Project and the Tamale Water Expansion Project, the Kumasi Water Supply Project and the Koforidua Water Supply Project.
"Plans for Sunyani are almost completed," President Kufuor said, adding, this was expected to radically tackle the waterborne diseases plaguing many parts of the country.
Touching on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), President Kufuor said it was a major contribution of the government to provide quality and affordable health care.
"At the moment over nine million individuals, representing 48 per cent of the population are full members of the scheme. "At this rate, it is envisaged that in the next five years, all Ghanaians should be covered."
President Kufuor said a special feature was that in the next three years all children below 18 would become automatic members of the scheme, not through parents as it is now.
On HIV/AIDS, President Kufuor said the relentless fight against the spread resulted in a modest reduction from 2.6 per cent prevalence rate in 2006 to 2.2 per cent in 2007. The voluntary counselling and testing services which were operating in 138 districts should make help more readily available to people living with the disease.
"They should also help to contain the spread of the menace..At the moment, 48 anti-retroviral sites are operational in the country." President Kufuor said there were other on-going programmes to minimize the incidence and impact of other pandemics like malaria and guinea worm infestation.
"With improvement in water delivery it is expected that the incidence of guinea worm infestation will be reduced," he said.

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