The Government of Japan, UNICEF and the Government of Ghana committed to achieving UHC in Ghana

ACCRA, 12 MARCH 2020

Signing ceremony of the project, Improving Nurturing Care through the use of Maternal and Child Health Record Book
UNICEF Ghana/Kokoroko/2020

ACCRA, 12 MARCH 2020 – The Japan Embassy in Ghana and UNICEF have entered into a strategic partnership that will benefit 740,000 mothers and children in 80 districts in Ghana.

The project, Improving Nurturing Care through the use of Maternal and Child Health Record Book, which will be implemented in nine regions seeking to reach the most vulnerable children and their families; and where there is risk of greater neonatal mortality, stunting, due to low performance of health and nutrition indicators such as immunization, iron folic supplementation for women, exclusive breastfeeding, and complementary feeding. It will further strengthen the capacity of health workers on equity informed implementation and monitoring of preventive care in the first thousand days of life.

The project will scale up the effective use out of the maternal and child health record book as well as strengthen the comprehensive early childhood development and nurturing care package using the book as one of the tools.  It will also seek to build on previous experience and partnership between UNICEF and the Government of Japan in the northern Regions of Ghana.

The Minister of Health, Mr. Kweku Agyeman-Manu who received the project proposal on behalf of the Government of Ghana, said, “I am indeed grateful to the Government of Japan, JICA, UNICEF and others who have been part of the work on the new project and look forward to working with you all as Ghana prepares its commitment for the Tokyo 2020 Nutrition for Growth to reduce the different forms of malnutrition in the country.”

He added: “Today’s event offers a new prospect to expand the scope of the current intervention and sustain to gains made. This fits in well with the agenda of Universal Health Coverage and the need to meet the set goals of improving Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition in Ghana to reduce maternal, newborn and under 5 morbidity and mortality which is far from complete.”

The Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, His Excellency Himeno Tsutomu, speaking at the ceremony said, “we have a commitment for this partnership to succeed as it is far more important to ensure that children have a strong foundation than attempt to cure illness.”

Ghana as a country needs to accelerate action to address stagnated neonatal mortality and high maternal mortality. The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey indicates more progress is required to improve child and maternal health in Ghana. The Neonatal mortality rate has stagnated at 27 deaths per 1000 live births, maternal mortality still accounts for 14 per cent of all women in reproductive age deaths and 18%of children in Ghana are stunted.

UNICEF Ghana brings a long-standing experience and expertise in health and nutrition systems strengthening and in addressing inequalities to this partnership. Representative, Anne-Claire Dufay speaking at the ceremony said,

“It is an opportune time to accelerate actions to improve the overall health and well-being of children and mothers in Ghana. We truly believe that this programme will contribute well to the realization of Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage roadmap and in addressing the remaining health and nutrition challenges facing young children and mothers in Ghana.”

The Director General for the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Aboagye, endorsing the project at the signing ceremony said, “It is our expectation that this project will improve the coverage of the core reproductive and child health nutrition services particularly, in the newly created regions and deprived districts where there are still significant gaps in the continuum of preventive care, where it is most cost effective.”

This partnership will be led by Ministry of  Health and Ghana Health Services, and  will involve partners such as World Health Organization (WHO), World Food Programme (WFP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family (JOICFP), Ajinomoto Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department for International Development (DFID).