By Amadu Kamil Sanah, GNA
Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Minister for Health has applauded Africa Health Supplies (AHS) for making it possible to bring phototherapy services closer to the health facilities in Ghana through their innovative assembling of the firefly phototherapy equipment in the country.
He said assembling the equipment in Ghana comes along with many economic benefits, aside the health benefits, it will create more jobs that will improve the socio-economic standards of the company employees.
Dr. Agyeman Manu made the applauds in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Baffuor Awuah, Chief Programme Officer at the Medical and Dental Unit of the Ministry of Health at the 2nd Neonatal Jaundice Virtual Conference organized by the AHS in Accra.
He expressed the need for Ghana to extend phototherapy health technology to other health facilities across the 260 districts to deliver timely services to new born babies especially those with neonatal jaundice and other complications.
According to the minister, as the country prepares itself to reach the universal health coverage goal by 2030, it was increasingly becoming necessary for the nation to make conscious efforts to make health delivery more accessible and quality.
He assured AHS of the support of his Ministry and its allied agencies in providing the needed market access for the firefly phototherapy products, adding, “The Ministry and its agencies will further engage AHS in capacity building on neonatal jaundice to promptly manage new babies born with neonatal jaundice to minimize the high mobility and mortality associated with it”.
Mr. Albert Ankrah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AHS, said the conference was to bring all stakeholders together to create more awareness and encourage the treatment of neonatal jaundice among infant babies.
He noted that his organization had been able to assemble a substantial number of phototherapy equipment and other modern medical equipment in Ghana which was first on the African continent.
According to Mr. Ankrah, some of the equipment had been distributed to other countries in the West African sub-region including Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo, Sierra Leon and Liberia among others.
“It is worth noting that we have been working with some regulatory bodies within Ghana to register and approve our equipment, notably the Food and Drugs Authority. We are also working with the Pediatric Society of Ghana and other lead organisations and associations to identify some hospitals and clinics which need our phototherapy equipment.”
The AHS CEO was positive that the work of his organization was going to impact the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) which is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per cent life births by 2030.
Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, the President’s Advisor on Health, on his part thanked AHS for being instrumental to support the government to extend to and expand phototherapy services in the country’s health facilities to achieve the universal health goal.
He pledged the government’s continuous support to AHS in their quest to address the issues of neonatal jaundice, adding that, “globally, about 2.9 million infants die annually due to neonatal jaundice of which Ghana is no exception. In 2020, about 10,000 cases and deaths were reported in Ghana alone. Neonatal Jaundice is one of the top 10 causes of mortality in the neonatal period.”
Dr. Nsiah Asare noted that the government has always been guided by evidential data and research from researchers in public health, medical, political, social and economic sciences in taking decisions at all stages and that research on the new born babies affected by Neonatal Jaundice was undoubtedly required government attention.
He said the Government was committed to ensuring the realization of the universal health coverage by giving every district a well-equipped state of the art district hospital and seven new regional hospitals for the 6 newly created regions and the western region.
The President Advisor on Health said the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would partner and support AHS within its powers to provide the firefly phototherapy equipment to the various hospitals which were lacking or needed the equipment.
There were PowerPoint presentations by Dr. Isabella Sagoe Moses, Deputy Director – Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service on the topic “The Status of Neonatal Jaundice and Care in Ghana in 2021”; Dr. Adaebi Appiah, the President of the Pediatric Society of Ghana, Mr. Greg Dajer; the CEO of MTTS and Mr. Daniel Fritzpatrick of Day One Health-Canada.