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CSUC National Conference – Stakeholders Dissect Contemporary Health Challenges

Christian Service University College has once again convened key sections of society to deliberate, this time, on the medical, socio-economic and religious perspectives on health challenges in a 2-day national conference at its premises on 23 February and 24 February 2023.

The conference which had the theme, “Addressing the increasing health challenges in Ghana: exploring the diverse perspectives,” was in line with the institution’s quest to contribute to national development through the provision of public forums to illuminate and dissect the causes, effects and dimensions of issues that reflect on the national society.

The President of the University College, Prof. Sam Afrane asserted during the welcome address, that the purpose of the conference was “to explore, from empirical research and practical knowledge, the various perspectives of health challenges in Ghana, and to make pragmatic policy recommendations for uptake at the national, regional, district, community and individual levels”.

While situating the conference purpose within the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s definition of health as having physical, mental and social dimensions, Prof. Afrane referred to recent research findings from various sources that point to the need to explore other dimensions of quality health care, despite the increasing investment in such areas as health care facilities, training of more doctors and nurses, and pharmaceutical productions.

Expressing his excitement at the timeliness and value of the conference Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, who chaired the opening session outlined the constantly changing nature and prevalence of diseases, thereby making the multi-dimensional approach to finding solutions essential.

Prof. Owusu-Dabo who is the Pro Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology illustrated how physical inactivity, the use of antibiotics without prescriptions and other unhealthy practices have exposed the populace to new health conditions and compromised resistance to pathogens.

During the keynote address, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, drew the resonance of the programme as a “revered national conference” with the thrust of the recent 152nd Executive Board Meeting of the WHO which took place from 30 January to 7 February 2023. Dr Kuma-Aboagye posited that on the basis of this resonance he gladly accepted to participate as the keynote speaker, while he was still at the WHO meeting in Geneva.

The Director General who set Ghana’s health system within the global and African contexts asserted that whereas the Ghana health system has recorded significant strides across the six-building blocks of “health workforce, health infrastructure, medical products, service delivery, health governance, health financing and health information”, it is still beset with social, economic and environmental challenges.

Accordingly, the initiative of convening relevant stakeholders to approach these challenges from the medical, religious and socio-economic angles is apt for the solutions to be relevant.

To address these challenges from the medical perspective, the Director General drew attention to strengthening healthcare delivery “along the 11 enumerated global health thematic areas”. On the religious perspective, it is necessary for the church to dialogue with health providers, since cases of conflict exist on issues such as abortion and family planning mandates, sexual and reproductive health education, blood and related products, as well as vaccine mandates.

Meanwhile, the socio-economic perspective requires a paradigm shift away “from seeing investment decisions around health as costs to seeing such decisions as investments with economic returns”. Also, the medium to long term vision will be to position Ghana as a hub for medical tourism in the sub-region with estimated returns of US100 billion annually.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye noted how the appropriateness of the conference re-affirmed his “already held view that Christian Service University College was a world-class university that stayed abreast with global trends in both scholarship and practice”.

In the last few years, Christian Service University College has convened broad sections of society on topical national issues such as Managing Post Electoral Conflicts in Ghana (2017); Dealing with the Corruption Menace in Ghana (2019); the Theological, Legal and Scientific Perspectives on LGBTQ+ (2021).

The conference brought together presenters and other participants with various backgrounds such as policymakers, health professionals, religious leaders, economists and students who had active engagements on health from diverse areas including herbal medicine, illegal mining, poverty, food as medicine, pesticide use, and the effect of certain religious practices on health.




Written by David Kwao-Sarbah

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