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Health News of Saturday, 30 May 2015

Source: GNA

Use Research to address maternal, child mortalities - WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has advised Ghana to make use of research and knowledge generated and apply them systematically to influence policy response to prevent avoidable maternal, newborn and child deaths.

“There is a wealth of research and knowledge being generating …in Ghana that we can take better advantage of and learn from each of the research institutions and apply consistently,” Dr Magda Robalo, WHO Country Representative in Ghana stated in Accra.

Dr Robalo was speaking at the opening of a two-day national health research dissemination symposium, organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Ghana Health Service (GHS) with support from USAID.

The symposium on the general theme: “Ending Preventable Child and Maternal deaths in Ghana,” is to ensure that the high quality research evidence produced in Ghanaian research centres are shared to influence health policies and ensure best care and chance in life for children and mothers.

It is also to showcase the existing body of research and evidence to relevant policymakers, implementers, decision makers and other researchers to ensure that evidence directly informs practice.

Dr Robalo noted that the world has been successful in halving extreme poverty and improving the lives of more than 700 million people over the past two decades and reduced maternal mortality globally by 1.3 per cent since 1990, adding, “Only 16 countries will achieve MDG 5 target”.

She explained child mortality has also been reduced from 16 million in 1970 to 6.3 million in 2013.

She noted that; “despite the accelerated progress in reducing maternal and child mortality in most countries, studies show that it will take many years past 2015 for most developing countries to achieve the MDGs 4 and 5 targets”.

She commended Ghana for the tremendous progress made in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality, but added that the progress has been insufficient, slow and uneven across the country.

Dr Robalo said as the world transit to the Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted in New York this September, many countries including Ghana would have to work hard to achieve many if not most of the MDGs to brighten the future of mothers and children of the continent.

Mr Alex Segbefia Minister of Health said government is challenged by the fact that women and children are dying of preventable causes and assured that government would embrace every potential tool and resources that could help shape policies, change and improve the system.

He said government had invested in the three health research institutions to conduct high quality research and produce valuable evidence that could help target efforts and interventions.

Dr Appiah Denkyira, GHS Director-General explained that the Service is confronted with human resources and logistics and called on stakeholders to join forces to reduce the deaths of women and children.