NGOs and CSOs urged to focus on remote communities

Mr Joseph Amenowode, Volta Regional Minister, on Wednesday challenged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) to reach out to remote communities where their work was mostly needed. He said the CSOs and NGOs should adopt communities difficult to reach such as Worgbe instead of going to the urban centres where the people could easily have access to health professionals. Mr Amenowode said this at a health forum organized by the Volta Regional branch of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health on the theme; "Reaching the Un-reached." He observed that there were several remote communities in the country in dire need of the services of CSOs and NGOs but most of them tended to focus their activities in towns and cities where their services were not urgently needed. He assured such organizations of government's commitment to encourage and support them in their mission to promote healthy life-styles among the citizenry. "Despite the concerted efforts of government to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases through the numerous health programmes and projects on the ground, there still remain service gaps in health promotion that needed to be filled by the NGOs and CSOs. "There is therefore the need for collaboration between government, NGOs, CSOs and International Agencies to fully implement the health for all agenda," Mr Amenowode said. Dr Mrs Joan Awunyo-Akaba, Chairperson of the Volta Regional Coalition of NGOs and CSOs in Health, who spoke on health statistics in Ghana, noted that there was one trained midwife per 1,510 pregnant women and one doctor per 13,683 people, a situation that was affecting health delivery in general. She said between 2003 and 2007, practicing midwives were less than 75 and that the rest were playing administrative roles at the health ministry, thus limiting access to quality obstetric services in the country. She said the issue of the un-reached in the communities in terms of health delivery must therefore be the concern of all. Dr. Mrs Awunyo-Akaba therefore appealed to government to fund some CSOs and NGOs directly to reach the un-reached. Participants during an open forum called on government to train more health professionals and support NGOs and CSOs in Health to reach out to all the communities. They also emphasized the need for government to help train more traditional birth attendants in remote communities to reduce maternal mortality.