Following the decline in Out Patients Department (OPD) attendance in various health facilities due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, health authorities in Ghana are adopting strategies to create demand for routine services.
It is for this reason that the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate is engaging operators of Community Information Centres (CIC) and members of Community Health Committees (CHC) in all the 43 districts to create awareness about the continuous provision of routine services by health facilities.
With funding from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Directorate is seeking to train 700 members of CHCs and 215 CIC operators to educate the general public on the need to always seek medical attention in health facilities.
The trainees are being equipped to sensitize the public on the importance of seeking medical attention in health facilities, focusing on Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN).
Attendance of antenatal and child welfare clinics is critical to the fight against maternal and child mortality hence reluctance on the part of pregnant women and nursing mothers to access health facilities due to COVID-19 could be a setback to efforts to curb maternal and child mortality.
Dr Michael Rockson Adjei, the Deputy Regional Director of Health Services in charge of Public Health, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that demand creation for routine services had become necessary to build the confidence of the public in health facilities.
He said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, health facilities remained the safest place to seek healthcare and called on the public not to hesitate to visit the facilities when necessary.
He said health providers had been trained and adequate measures put in place to protect both patients and the workers in various facilities, as far as COVID-19 was concerned.
Dr. Adjei entreated the beneficiaries of the training to ensure frequent public education to eliminate the skepticism about health facilities at the community level especially among pregnant women and nursing mothers.