Accra, Ghana | 23 October 2018 – The 3rd ECOWAS Forum on Best Practices in Health has been officially opened in Accra this day.
The Forum is being organized by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the Specialised Institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in charge of health issues.
The Minister of Health of Ghana, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu chaired the opening ceremony with the participation of his two deputies, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, the Acting Mission Director of USAID West Africa, the WHO Ghana Country Director representing the WHO-AFRO Regional Director and the Director General of WAHO.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, underscored the need for multi-sectoral collaborations in the provision of quality health care in line with international best practices across the West African region.
He also explained that multi-sectoral collaboration in health care provision was not a new approach because it has been in the practice as part of their sector policies, strategies and activities or as part of their interactions with other players in national development and international relations.
The Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu made these remarks at the opening ceremony of the 3rd ECOWAS Best Practices Forum in Health in Accra, under the theme: “Promoting Multi-sectoriality to achieve Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent and Youth (MNCAYH) Health-related Sustainable Development Goals”, which he qualified as appropriate judging from the realities of the moment.
Good health, he observed, is not only a human welfare issue, but a fundamental objective of socio-economic development, and as such no single ministry, department or agency can ensure the health of a nation. He, therefore called for concerted efforts from the public and private sectors, civil society, religious bodies and all segments of society to ensure the good health of a nation.
The Minister said “Improvement in maternal, new-born child, and adolescent health is of global concern”, and added that Ghana as a country has identified and ranked these issues as key priorities for the health sector because it affects the core of the population, which ultimately form the nation’s workforce. Therefore, the government over the years developed and implemented many health interventions designed to optimise the health of its people.
The Director-General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, expressed concern that despite the interventions, maternal and child mortality rates in West Africa were the highest in the world.
He said it was against that background that in 2014 the 15th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers adopted a resolution establishing the forum to facilitate the documentation, dissemination and scaling up of effective and proven practices in health, with particular emphasis on the vulnerable.
“The establishment of a regional platform to discuss and share best practices in the health sector is an effective way of ensuring that intervention in counties in the sub-region produce positive health outcomes at an accelerated rate”, he noted.
“WAHO has therefore brought together some of the finest health experts in family planning, sexual and reproductive health from the ECOWAS countries as well as other relevant stakeholders and its main technical and financial partners to deliberate and share experiences of some very interesting best practices based on the theme”, he said.
He expressed hope that the forum would provide the platform for knowledge and experience sharing.
The ECOWAS Best Practices Forum is mainly funded by USAID West Africa.
The Acting Mission Director of USAID West Africa, Carell Laurent, noted that the purpose of WAHO organising the third ECOWAS Forum on Best Practices in Health was to “empower, strengthen capacity and help move us on our path to scaling up evidence-based and effective health practices”.
She therefore challenged participants to remember the declaration made and resolutions adopted since the first forum in 2015 and to hold themselves accountable for fulfilling those commitments.
She ended her remarks with an appeal for a multi-sectoral approach in the quest to scale-up best practices in countries by partnering with the ministries of health, other donors, civil society organisations and the private sector.
The ECOWAS Best Practices Forum in Health is an annual event for ECOWAS member States, and it is organised by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), which is the specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for health issues.
The goal of the regional platform is to catalyse the process of identification, scaling-up and documentation of the Best Practices that have a high impact on health in order to accelerate the effective and efficient implementation of priority programmes in the ECOWAS member States.
The objectives of the 3rd ECOWAS Best Practices Forum in Health in Accra are to promote the culture of evidence-based strategy, policy and programme development, facilitate experience sharing on Best Practices in health among member States in terms of identification, resource mobilization, scaling-up and documentation of such practices, and mobilize and align all key stakeholders (member States and technical and financial partners) on regional and national priorities based on Best Practices with high health impact.
Other objectives of the Forum are: (1) identify Best Practices in health and make specific recommendations and resolutions to be submitted to the Assembly of Health Ministers for adoption and implementation in member States; (2) evaluate and document the progress made by member States in the identification, replication and scaling up of Best Practices in health in the ECOWAS region.
The three-day event is bringing together government officials, health practitioners, development partners, researchers and managers of training and research institutions.