The Ghana Citizens' Hearings
Citizens’ hearings for women’s, children and adolescents’ health took place at the local and national level in Ghana in June and July 2015.
The local hearing, organised by World Vision in the Ejura district (Ashanti Region), brought together around 350 participants –including children, youth, NGOs, faith leaders, journalists and decision makers. Community members raised the issue of access to health facilities; having to travel to the district capital to reach services, with only irregular visits from health workers to communities. Citizens also raised the issue of low immunisation coverage.
The National Citizen's Hearing in Ghana was hosted by World Vision and the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, and brought together citizens and CSOs with the Minister of Health, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, the Director General of Ghana Health Service and other key policy and decision makers of the country. At the hearing, citizens discussed health barriers and inequalities in the country, assessed Ghana’s performance on the health targets Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to discussed strategies to enhance women, child’s and adolescents’ health.
At the national hearing, Mr Alex Segbefia, the Minister of Health said there has been some progress to reduce infant and under-five mortality in Ghana, building on National Health Insurance Scheme, high vaccination coverage, increased access to effective malaria treatment and prevention, eradication of guinea worm and improved treatment for Tuberculosis. He noted, however, that much still remains to be done to achieve the MDG target of reducing under-five mortality.
The Minister also said the Health Ministry embraced interventions by health partners and would continue to work with WVG, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, Hope for Future Generations and other Civil Society Organizations prioritizing health in the upcoming SDGs.
Dr Afisa Zakaria, Director for Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, MOH, highlighted the three delays that often affect maternal and child health: including community and cultural practices, financial constraints and transportation to health facilities. She noted that a number of interventions being pursued, including a programme created to bring healthcare closer to communities, monitor pregnant women, provide them with the requisite knowledge and do deliveries when necessary as well as expanding ambulance services