The Ghana Heart Initiative (GHI), a GIZ project with funding from the Bayer AG, a Pharmaceutical company, on Tuesday, presented over 313 pieces of medical equipment worth 200,000 Euros, to the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate.
The equipment included 164 sphygmomanometers, 41 weighing scales with height meter, 43 glucometers, 32 electrocardiograms, four monitors and 29 defibrillators.
They would be distributed among 44 beneficiary health facilities, including the Ada East and Lekma Hospitals respectively, and also the Mamprobi Polyclinic, which were participating in the GHI pilot project in the Greater Accra Region, for the prevention, diagnosis and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, at the handing over ceremony in Accra, thanked the GHI for the donation, saying it would support Ghana’s efforts in confronting the challenges posed by CVDs, which were among the main causes of death in the country.
He said the tools were very essential in improving CVD care in health facilities, and especially welcome the time when these disease had become an important co-morbidity in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry, he said, had followed with keen interest all activities being provided under the Initiative and does not take them for granted at all.
“We are therefore pleased to sign an addendum to the MOU, which provides for the extension of the GHI to other regions of Ghana and also to replicate deepened or specialised trainings in Deep Vein Thrombosis for six other public hospitals in Ghana following the pilot in Kumasi,” he said.
He encouraged beneficiary facilities to take good care of the equipment and put them to the use they were intended for, and to ensure good maintenance on timely basis as required by policy to ensure their longevity.
GIZ Ghana Country Director, Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, stated that “cardiovascular diseases are a growing public health problem in Ghana and in other African countries, adding that strokes and other CVDs have become a leading cause of deaths due to increasing risk factors such as Hypertension.
According to her in sub-Saharan Africa, individuals at high risk of CVDs were usually at the peak of their productive years, and that early diagnosis and adequate management of the risk factors and CVD could however reduce the fatal consequences.
She explained that it was to this end that the GIZ had since October 2018, been facilitating the implementation of the GHI on behalf of Bayer AG, and in close cooperation with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The Country Director thanked the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service for their invaluable cooperation since implementing the establishment of the GHI.
Mr. Clement Owusu-Addo, the Bayer AG Commercial Lead AWA & and Head of Office Ghana, said it saw it as its responsibility to help expand access to healthcare for all and was therefore proud to join hands with the MOH, GHS, GIZ and the various health institutions in Ghana to strengthen health systems to be able to help in the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which continued to present a growing burden for Ghana.
He said Bayer would continue to work closely with its partners in increasing the effectiveness of NCD treatment in Ghana, while measuring the outcomes and impact of its efforts on increasing patients’ access to healthcare, and “we will credibly track our impact through our partners and are committed to transparently and regularly report on our successes.”
According Dr. Alfred Doku, the GHI Project Director, heart disease and stroke were the main causes of death among adult Ghanaians due to high blood pressure, which was largely undiagnosed and undertreated.
He said the health system in Ghana had not been well positioned to handle this situation especially at the community level, so the GHI’s support was aimed at strengthening the health system, and to facilitate the detection, diagnosis and management of hypertension and other CVD.
He said a successful implementation of the project would have a tremendous impact on the Ghanaian health system, saying “by the end of 2021, 1,800 health professionals would have received trainings on CVD risk assessment and management as well as Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
“Until now, the GHI has already trained more than 650 health professionals, and developed a national guidelines for the management of CVDs and a facilitator’s guide for the CVD training, and as a result, 66 health facilities in the Greater Accra Region were already able to improve their CVD management.
He said by the end of the project, it was expected that more than 160 Ghanaian health facilities across all regions would benefit from the GHI, and mentioned other implemented measures such as the trial of a 24/7 support call centre for CVD management, the improvement of CVD-related data collection and management systems as well as direct Covid-19 support for two hospitals.
Dr Doku said together with the MOH and the GHS the project had successfully conducted a pilot phase in the Greater Accra Region and was now being rolled-out to the entire country.
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