Patronize Essential Services – GHS

Dr. DaCosta Aboagye
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has urged the public not to shy away from health facilities but patronize all available essential services which are being offered under strict Covid-19 protocols.

According to the GHS, it was important for the public to access essential services including family planning, HIV, and antenatal even though the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of these services which contribute to the country’s health indicators.

Director of the Health Promotion Division, GHS, Dr DaCosta Aboagye, speaking at a stakeholder engagement, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on improving essential services during and post Covid-19 pandemic, called for an intensified collaboration with the media to educate and inform the public about the importance of accessing these services.

He said essential services, including maternal and childcare, HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria Family Planning, Meningitis, and nutrition care, had been heavily impacted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic due to wrong public perception, stigma, and the fear of being infected for which reason people shielded away from health facilities.

Dr Aboagye stated that the access gap created by the pandemic must quickly be addressed to sustain the gains made over the years in improving quality healthcare delivery for all.

The media, he said, must provide the public with the right information that would assure them of their safety while accessing the services in the various health facilities.

Ms Claudette Ahliba Diogo, a representative of the Family Health Division of the GHS, gave an overview of a research by the University of Ghana, on the impact of Covid-19 on the uptake of essential services.

She said the findings of the study showed a decrease in the acceptance of family planning and antenatal care visits, leading to low records of caesarean section delivery and high records of home births among others.

She said the study also showed a decrease in reproductive health awareness among the populace, however, essential services were found to have been available and opened for access throughout the period in all health facilities across the country.

Ms Diogo said the conclusion of the other two studies, however, showed that there were regional variations in the uptake and type of service, but despite the initial disruptions, Ghana was able to maintain essential service delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The situation, she said, was gradually improving, and called for enhanced community engagement and public education to help overcome fears and misconceptions around the Covid-19 vaccines.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri