The Municipal Director of Health Services for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA), Martin Sumani Daanko, has expressed grave concern about the high rate of teenage pregnancy cases in the municipality.
He has, therefore, called on all stakeholders, including chiefs, health professionals, religious groups, teachers and assembly members to join forces to address the menace, which had the potential of jeopardising the progress of the education of the young girls.
Mr Daanko made the call at the 2023 annual performance review of the health sector in the municipality in Elmina last Friday, which was on the theme:
"Achieving better health outcomes through Universal Health Coverage in the KEEA Municipality: the role of stakeholders".
He said out of 4,054 pregnant women who registered for antenatal care services in the municipality in 2023, 496 of them, representing 12.2 per cent, were teenagers.
According to Mr Daanko, for the past three years, the data indicated that farmers/fishermen, drivers and artisans, whose ages ranged from 20 to 29, had been responsible for 60-70 per cent of all teenage pregnancies in the municipality.
The municipal director announced that during the year under review, 48 nurses and midwives left the municipality to seek greener pastures elsewhere; thus, bringing more workload on those remaining at post.
Mr Daanko seized the opportunity to plead with the staff to stay back and help render quality healthcare services to the people as their job was a calling to help save lives.
He also appealed to the government to improve the service conditions of health workers to prevent the exodus of health workers to other countries after they had been trained with the taxpayers' money.
Mr Daanko said the Ghana Health Service would continue with its staff motivation packages such as study leave with pay, promotions to the next higher levels and other non-monetary packages, including attending to the personally welfare of staff.
He stressed that there had been massive encroachment on lands of health facilities in the municipality, which was affecting plans for expansion in addition to the risk posed to the health facilities, which ordinarily qualified to be declared security zones.
He said the lands of Elmina Polyclinic, Ankaful Leprosy and General Hospital and those of health centres such as Kissi and Abrem Agona Health Centres and CHPS compounds had been encroached on by unauthorised people.
He said in the case of the Ankaful General Hospital, a court judgement was delivered in its favour and, therefore, urged the KEEA Municipal Assembly and the Attorney General to help the hospital enforce the judgment.
Mr Daanko enumerated several challenges facing health facilities in the municipality, including logistical constraints such as inadequate and obsolete equipment, means of transportation for health facilities to provide services, infrastructure development, high staff attrition, staff accommodation, finance for many health activities, among others, and called for governmental intervention to save the situation.
On behalf of the municipal health directorate and the Central Regional Director of Health Services, Mr Daanko commended the paramount chief of Abrem and the representatives/delegations of the other three traditional councils for attending the meeting, which was an indication of strong stakeholder collaboration with the health services.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for KEEA, Solomon Appiah, was full of praise for the management and staff of the Municipal Health Directorate for their efforts and accomplishments over the years and encouraged them to keep working harder to enable the directorate and the municipality at large to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
He said the assembly was constructing a fully furnished modern theatre for the Elmina Government Hospital, which was at an advanced stage of completion, to end the referral of patients who needed such services to other health facilities.
Mr Appiah admonished individuals or patients to use their voices positively to demand good health services and always listen to the advice of health professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health and support staff for all to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.
The Central Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Mrs Marion Okoh-Owusu, emphasising the value of hard work, said it was through their collective dedication and perseverance that they could overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
"Together, we can build a regional health sector that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our communities," she emphasised.