A medical technician draws a blood sample to screen for glucose and cholesterol at a free health screening as part of the National Urban League's Economic Empowerment Tour in Dallas, Texas June 13, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

The Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) has launched its Golden Jubilee celebration in Accra with a call on member organisations to renew their commitment to delivering quality health service to the deprived communities.

Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said: “The country is a living witness to the exemplary contributions of CHAG in the Ghanaian health sector.

“We are recognised as the second largest provider of health services in Ghana with about 30 to 35 per cent share of health service output. Indeed, collectively, we have provided health, healing and hope to millions of people including mothers, children, aged and disabled.”

Most Rev. Naameh said by the modest contribution of the CHAG, lives and livelihoods had been restored in many ways hence “we have a course to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of serving as stewards and servants of Christ’s healing ministry”.

The Golden Jubilee, on the theme: “50 Years of Christian Health Service Delivery: Improving and Sustaining Innovations,” would be celebrated in all the regions, to include screening and outreach services. There would also be documentary to showcase the achievements of the CHAG.

Award ceremonies to recognise distinguished member organisations and donors will climax the celebration in the first week of November.
Most Rev Naameh said: “Consistent with our core values of creativity, excellence and innovation, CHAG pioneered and piloted 40 community-based insurance schemes in the 1990s that ultimately culminated into the National Health Insurance Scheme in 2004.

“To date, about 11 million Ghanaians, representing about 42 per cent of the population, are enrolled onto the NHIS, which is recognised as a model in Africa and rated as one of the best poverty alleviation interventions since Ghana’s Independence.”

Cataloguing the achievements of CHAG, Most Rev Naameh said CHAG’s Community outreach services and pioneering role in Primary Health Care laid the foundation for Government’s Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHIPS) Programme.

“Our Health Training Institutions continue to train middle level health professionals including nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, prosthetics and orthotics technicians for the entire health sector. CHAG’s accredited facilities continue to provide housemanship and specialists training for medical officers.

“Today, in the remotest and unreached places, CHAG provides services to the neglected communities irrespective of socio-economic or religious circumstances.

“In crisis situations, we serve as buffers and resilience to the health system; our non-strike tradition under all circumstances has immeasurably supported and strengthen our country’s health system against shock and perennial challenges,” he said.

He said CHAG’s 50 years existence has facilitated equitable access to quality health care to the poor, needy, marginalised, neglected and vulnerable segment of the society.

Mr Peter Yeboah, the Executive Director of CHAG, said over the years, government’s subsidies, subventions and waivers in the health sector, especially for CHAG member institutions, continued to dwindle with unintended consequences.

“We see and experience, much to our dismay avoidable diseases and deaths; especially for mothers and children owing to local health system failures, policy incoherence, inertia and unresponsive attitude of some health professionals.

“Amidst the growing needs and mounting challenges, our aspiration and resilience to ensure the provision of equitable and sustainable quality health services to all people remain our brand and passion,” he added.

The Reverend Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, said churches had made tremendous contributions in the national development and nobody should think of sidelining them.

He, therefore, urged CHAG to extend the activities of the celebration to the Church to whip up interest of members to own Christian hospitals.

Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong said the anniversary should reposition CHAG to improve quality assurance to serve as an example to be emulated by all.

Dr Agatha Bonney, the CHAG Board Chairperson, said it was a historic occasion as they celebrated quality health service delivering to Ghanaians and neighbours across the borders.

She acknowledged the fruit of collaborative support of all partners for the successes chalked adding that health was dynamic and, therefore, the need to access valuable information through technology to achieve sustainable health for all.

CHAG, established in 1967, began with a modest 60 hospitals and clinics to the current 302 facilities dotted all over the country.

Source: GNA/