The Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, has launched the National Newborn Strategy and Action Plan to guide newborn delivery and care in the country.
The minister launched the policy, together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pocket Handbook for Children, at the opening of an Executive National Forum organised by the Ghana Health Service, in conjunction with UNICEF, USAID, PATH and the Maternal and Child Survival Programme.
The three-day forum brought together health experts, donor partners, Members of Parliament, traditional and religious leaders, as well as ambassadors of newborn health care, to create awareness of the state of newborn health in the country.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah pointed out that current statistics on newborn mortality were “a serious affront to the country’s efforts”.
According to the Health Minister, 30,000 newborn babies died every year in Ghana, with one baby dying every 15 minutes.
“Every newborn, every mother has a right to live,” he said, adding that every investment in newborns was vital to their survival.
A Senior Advisor, Maternal and Newborn Health of Unicef, Dr Kim Dickson, said Ghana’s progress at reducing newborn deaths was slow.
She said the time had come for every newborn to be seen as a potential survivor, hence the need to name every child immediately it was born.
She said 71 per cent of newborn deaths could be prevented if the right measures, such as focusing on quality care before and after birth, were put in place.
The National Child Health Co-ordinator, Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses, who gave the current status on health care for newborns in Ghana, said the country’s efforts at reducing newborn deaths were stagnating, as the figure since 1988 had not seen much improvement.
She said the country was not doing well in newborn care and cautioned that it was unlikely to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Five on reducing under-five mortality.
Donor partners pledge
The UNICEF Country Representative, Mrs Susan Ngongi, together with the WHO Country Representative, Dr Magda Robalo, and the USAID Representative, Mr Andrew Karas, commended efforts by Ghana to help in saving its newborns.
They also commended health personnel for their efforts at helping to reduce the country’s newborn death statistics.
Source: Daily Graphic
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