The Annual Health Summit hosted by the Ministry of Health began y 23 April 2018 at the Labadi Beach Hotel under the theme "Achieving Universal Health Coverage: Using Innovative Approaches”. This was a platform for bringing all stakeholders (other line Ministries, civil society, UN agencies, private sector and academia) together to discuss pertinent health issues in Ghana and also provides an opportunity to widen the scope of discussions on these very important health issues.
In attendance was His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr Alhaji Bawumia, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Members of Parliament, Ministers of State, WHO Country Representative, Dr Owen Kaluwa among others. The Chairman for the Function was Dr Anarfi Asamoah-Baah, former Deputy Director General of WHO
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Moeti thanked the Government of Ghana for inviting her to speak at the National Health Summit. She mentioned that the Lancet Commission on Global Health has projected that countries achieve UHC targets by 2035 would eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths saving over 10 million women and children.
“To achieve UHC in Africa, will require that we strengthen our health systems. We in WHO understand that UHC will not be achieved through a one-size fits –all approach, which is why we have developed a framework for action to assist countries to select options which best suit their contexts” Dr Moeti said.
The Regional Director also reiterated that good quality, disaggregated data and information systems were necessary for achieving UHC. She added that Robust, integrated information systems were necessary for producing evidence that informed policy and decision making on who benefiting from health services, on the status of financial protection and on areas that needed strengthening.
She encouraged the health sector to ensure sustainable, equitable and efficient funding mechanism, so that people could have access to health services needed, and these must also include preventive and essential surgical services, which required additional emphasis in some countries.
Dr Moeti said, skilled health workers such as nurses, midwives, doctors, anaesthetists, and more must also be available in adequate numbers and equitably distributed in countries.
In her final remarks, Dr Moeti indicated that the attainment of UHC would require that all, including the private sector were fully engaged”. She concluded.
The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in his statement indicated that the theme for this year’s summit was very appropriate because it provided opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss innovative approaches to achieving UHC.
“Performance assessment is always desirable. An effective assessment requires reliable and constituent data for use at all levels of the health delivery. Maternal health indices are important for any government because it is used to access the development of the country”. Dr Bawumia said.
Despite the significant improvement in maternal health indices there is still evidence that a number of maternal and infant morbidities and mortalities is one the increase. This is not acceptable. Government will continue to invest in maternal and child health. Even though it is not easy to achieve UHC if government and stakeholders can work together, it is possible.
The function also saw the launch of the 2018 African Vaccination Week under the theme “Vaccines Work; Do Your Part”. Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, announced that Ghana would from April 23 to 29, 2018, join all other African countries to mark the eight edition of the vaccination week. The theme, he said, was appropriate judging from the fact that there was an urgent need for everyone to ensure that all eligible children received their vaccines at the appropriate time.