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Upper West health sector performed better despite COVID-19 – Director

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The health sector in the Upper West Region performed better in 2020 despite the dire impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Dr. Damien Punguyire, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, has observed.

He said some indicators such as skill delivery increased marginally from 70.5 percent to 71.1 percent with institutional Neonatal Mortality Ratio declining from 8.6/1000 live births in 2019 to 7.5/1000 live births in 2020.

Dr. Punguyire made the observation at the opening of the Upper West Regional 2020 annual health sector performance review conference in Wa on Wednesday on the theme: “The effects of COVID-19 on Healthcare Delivery in the Upper West Region”.

The two-day conference organised by the Regional Health Directorate brought together actors in the health sector including regional and district health staff and the private sector such as representative from JICA and Marie Stopes International among others.

The health sector in the Region recorded 3.5 points in the year 2020 out of a maximum of five points.

“For the foregoing, it is clear that the Region performed well despite the pandemic. However, more work needs to be done to reverse the trend in some of the indicators,” Dr. Punguyire said.

He said Maternal Mortality Ratio for instance increased from 74.8 to 94.7/100,000 live births within the year under review.

The Director noted that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health directorate and its partners could implement its planned activities for the year under review, which included demarcation of the Region into 496 Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) zones, up from 391 CHPS zones in 2019.

The move, he said would help make primary healthcare service readily available to the people, particularly at the rural level.

Talking about the new Upper West Regional Hospital, Dr. Punguyire noted that the facility currently had 326 staff with 15 permanent doctors, which he indicated had helped tremendously in the fight against the COVID-19 in the Region.

Dr. Punguyire commended the development partners, including the UNICEF, Plan International Ghana, Marie Stopes International, Community Development Alliance, Impact Malaria, and JICA among others for contributing to the success chalked in the health sector.

Dr. Raphael Ntumy, Chief of Party at Impact Malaria, in a message on his behalf, noted that the Impact Malaria project was “to improve malaria services delivery across the continuum of care from communities to health facilities in all 16 regions” of the country.

Dr. Sir Nike Gyader, the Chairman of the conference, urged the general populace to accept the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in the country.

He, however, noted that there was the need for the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service to confirm the safety of the vaccine or otherwise.

Source: GNA

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