The Japanese government, in partnership with the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has inaugurated Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICUs) for six referral hospitals in Northern and Upper East regions.
The units, which are stocked with equipment such as resuscitation tables, newborn baby warmers and suction, machines are to help strengthen neonatal support services in the hospitals to reduce infant mortality to help the country attain the Millennium Development Goals.
The beneficiary hospitals included Tamale Central, Bole District, Yendi District, and Savelugu-Nanton Municipal in the Northern Region and Navrongo War Memorial and Bolgatanga Regional hospitals in the Upper East Region.
Speaking at the inauguration of one of the units at the Savelugu-Nanton Municipal Hospital at Savelugu on Wednesday, Japanese Ambassador in Ghana, Mr Naoto Nikai, said the health sector had been the priority of the Japanese Government and hence the support.
He said provision of the NICUs was in line with the Japan-UNICEF EMBRACE Partnership Project for “Accelerating efforts to reduce maternal, neonatal and child mortality in the Northern and Upper East Regions.”
Mr Nikai spoke about other interventions under the project which included support for procurement of medical equipment as well as human resource development, both at hospital and community levels to provide special treatments for newborn care.
Statistics provided by UNICEF show that out of about one million babies born every year in the country, around 30,000 die before reaching their 30 days of life because of inadequate equipment and treatment at the hospitals.
Mr Nikai expressed the hope that the new NICUs would help the country make impressive progress towards achieving the MDGs 4 and 5.
Madam Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF Country Representative, said “We will continue to work with the government, our donors and families to make sure that newborns not only survive, but also grow up in communities with good sanitation and safe water, they are well-nourished, go to school and are protected from abuse and exploitation.”
Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, said there was a relationship between health and development and that government would continue to work to meet the health needs of the people.
Alhaji Fuseini commended the Japanese government for its support for the country.
Dr Akwasi Twumasi, Northern Regional Director of the GHS, said the new NICUs would ensure efficiency in health service delivery.
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