By Rashid Mbugri, GNA
Yendi (N/R), Aug 30, GNA – The Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa (SEND-Ghana) on Wednesday held a day's policy café on Immunization with stakeholders in the Saboba and Tatale Districts in the Northern region.
The forum, held in Yendi, was aimed at eliciting the views, ideas, concerns and recommendations of the stakeholders on the immunization priorities for the 2020 budget and use them to develop a "Citizens Alternative Budget" on immunization financing.
This forms part of SEND-Ghana's "Immunization Advocacy Initiative" for selected regions and districts with the objective to alert government and its partners to increase domestic financing on immunization.
The stakeholders’ engagement is also in response to the Ministry of Finance’s call for citizens input into the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government.
The "Citizens Alternative Budget" would be used to influence the budget preparation process with concrete citizens’ priorities and evidences that justified such inputs.
The participants included representatives from CSOs, District Health Directors and Traditional authorities from both districts and representatives from the Northern Regional Health Directorate and the Expanded Programme for Immunization (EPI).
Mrs Amina Seidu, the EPI Coordinator at the Northern Regional Health Directorate in a presentation made on her behalf, indicated that the Region had achieved its immunization targets for a number of years, and indicated however, that some districts, especially the Saboba District most often failed to meet its targets for immunization, especially childhood vaccines preventable diseases.
The presentation, however, attributed the failure to meeting these targets on the lack of logistics such as means of transport, challenges with population statistics among others and called on government to address these challenges.
The participants suggested to government to adequately resource the Ghana Health Service to effectively educate and sensitise citizens on the need to be immunized to help reduce issues such as under five years malnutrition and infant mortality.
They further suggested to government to allocate resources to employ more health staff, especially to rural communities and also make available incentive packages to encourage them to move to those areas.
The participants advocated the provision of more logistics such as motorbikes to aid in the effective movement of health workers in remote areas, as well as ensure the extension of electricity supply to health centres in rural communities.
Mr Mumuni Mohammed, the Northern Regional Programmes Manager of SEND-Ghana commended the participants for their efforts and contributions and assured them that some of the issues and recommendations raised at the meeting would be included in the "Citizens Alternative Budget" for consideration.
The project is supported by Africa Population and Health Research Centre with funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by SEND-Ghana.