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Emerging Public Health Issues in Ghana

Public Health Ghana

Emerging Public Health Issues in Ghana

Expenditure in Ghana towards healthcare resources has increased in the last two decades to improve public health. Much still needs to be done. Public health is an ongoing process and continuous improvement is an ongoing goal. The numerous and serious healthcare problems are due to poor health infrastructure, inadequate education, hygiene and sanitation as well as extreme poverty and hunger.

Health Problems in Ghana

There are several unaddressed health problems that pose serious risks to the Ghanaian population such as malaria,HIV, tetanus,chickenpox,schistosomiasis, measles, anthrax,cholera,typhoid,tuberculosis, several kinds ofpneumonia, infectious hepatitis,yellow fever, dysentery, venereal diseases andpoliomyelitis. HIV/AIDS are widespread and dangerous in Ghana, with the rising rate of infection and deaths whileMalaria transferred by mosquito bite, has highest mortality rate.
The communicable diseases prevalent in Ghana are malaria, HIV/AIDs, diarrhoea and tuberculosis while increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases include cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory disease and others. Ghanaians are estimated to die from lifestyle and chronic diseases. Womens health problems in Ghana are related to nutrition, reproductive health and family planning that are critical for national development. Ghana has fallen short in preventing maternal, infant or child mortality that has been found worsening over the past few years.

Healthcare System in Ghana

The hospitals and emergency services available in Ghana do not meet the Western standards. The availability of healthcare institutions and professionals is limited while long distances traveling for healthcare is not affordable. The healthcare cost and expenditures related to prevention and treatment of diseases are rising. The Ghanaian government has increased expenditure for availability of better healthcare resources and infrastructure. The government has also set up the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), a healthcare coverage for Ghanaian population which is responsible for decrease in deaths and rise in patient number. The tailored services of the NHIS cover treatments for communicable and non-communicable diseases like malaria, diabetes, respiratory diseases, hypertension and other widespread ailments. This scheme is available to low-income employees with flexible premium rates.
Government and non-government funded clinics, hospitals and healthcare centers are set up that play a vital role in providing medical assistance to the Ghanaian population. Anti-malarial, anti-viral and other medicine to ensure and reduce the risk of infections is available throughout the country. To avoid travellers disease, immunizations and vaccination is made important. Along with obligatory yellow fever vaccination, immunizations are highly recommended for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Polio, Meningitis, Rabies, etc. The necessity to increase access to healthcare services and ensure sustainable financing arrangements to the poor is recognised. Improvement in quality and access to maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health services has increased. Ways of prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases to promote healthy lifestyles has been intensified.
The challenges faced by Ghana healthcare system include poor hygiene and sanitation, inadequate financial health investments or limited workforce and facilities. Establishing health institutions and insurance schemes, increasing workforce, improving hygiene and treatment conditions can ameliorate the challenges faced. Implementation of policies in maternal health, child, adolescent and other healthcare reforms can provide better health outcomes. This can be achieved by improving treatment, prevention and detection of diseases; strengthening healthcare diseases surveillance system and workforce; initiating research and development of new healthcare interventions; increasing public awareness and screening programmes can also be beneficial.

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