PARTICIPANTS in a conference on healthcare delivery have charged the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to partner religious and cultural organisations to intensify public education on healthy lifestyles and health risks associated with emerging health problems.
They further appealed to health training institutions to expand their curricula for the training of the requisite human resources to meet the challenges of contemporary health risks.
The participants, mainly students, officials of the GHS, Ghana Medical Association (GMA), traditional medicine practitioners, academics and allied healthcare providers made the recommendations at the conference themed: "Addressing the increasing Health Challenges in Ghana: Exploring Diverse Perspectives" organised by the Christian Service University College in Kumasi.
They also tasked the GHS and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to collaborate to educate the general public on broader health issues affecting healthcare services and clamp down on substandard and toxic food and medical products in the open market.
The recommendations were made in reaction to the keynote presentation made by the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, who said whereas Ghana had made tremendous strides and progress in healthcare delivery and other services, there were still challenges from the social, cultural, economic and environmental sectors which rendered the services ineffective and inefficient.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye noted that, "Ghana has made great strides in the areas of healthcare workforce, healthcare infrastructure, development and acquisition of medical products, service quality and delivery, healthcare governance, healthcare financing and provision of healthcare information in line with standards of the World Health Organisation".
He cited for instance the fact that about 41 per cent of the people have one form of mental illness or the other and noted that without collective effort against biases of religious or cultural nature, healthcare professionals alone could not contain the menace.
Dr Kuma Aboagye accordingly called for regular and sustained open interactions with relevant institutions and professionals to find antidotes to the challenges coming from the social, religious, cultural, economic and environmental perspectives to promote efficient, effective and wholesome healthcare services delivery.
In the welcome address, the President of the Christian Service University College, Prof. Sam Afrane, said healthcare service delivery required support from all the people since it could not be left in the hands of healthcare professionals, no matter their commitment and dedication to duty.
He thus appealed to the GHS to actively engage the public dispassionately to evolve transformative and innovative ways to address the challenges undermining functional healthcare services delivery.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, who chaired the function, explained that lack of physical exercises, dietary patterns and abuse of antibiotics have combined to expose Ghanaians to new health conditions, which are needless and avoidable, but which have the concomitant resistance to certain pathogens.
He also identified public education and collaboration with relevant bodies and institutions as holding the key to overcoming certain illnesses and success in fighting emerging and contemporary non communicable diseases from becoming epidemics.