Issues of health have been a major concern for the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG). The right to health is enshrined in numerous international treaties and conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
However, many people in Ghana continue to face significant health challenges that impede their ability to enjoy this fundamental right.
One of the key health concerns in Ghana is access to healthcare. According to the World Health Organization, Ghana has just 0.2 physicians per 1,000 people, well below the global average of 1.5.
Additionally, many remote areas in Ghana lack adequate medical facilities or personnel. This means that people in these areas may have to travel long distances to receive medical care, or may not be able to access care at all.
Another major health concern in Ghana is the prevalence of communicable diseases. Malaria remains a significant threat, with an estimated 10 million cases in the country each year. Other diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS also pose a serious risk to public health.
Despite efforts to improve prevention and treatment, these diseases continue to place a significant burden on the healthcare system and on individuals and families affected by them.
Access to clean water and sanitation is another critical health issue in Ghana. According to UNICEF, just 14% of the rural population has access to basic sanitation services, and only 63% have access to clean water. This lack of basic infrastructure can lead to the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever, which can have serious health consequences.
In addition to these specific health concerns, there are also broader social and economic factors that contribute to poor health outcomes in Ghana. Poverty, for example, is a major barrier to accessing healthcare and nutritious food, and can lead to chronic stress which can harm physical and mental health. Discrimination and inequality – particularly against women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities – can also affect health outcomes by limiting access to healthcare and other essential services.
Human Rights Reporters Ghana recognizes that addressing these health concerns requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. This includes government officials, healthcare providers, civil society groups, and individuals themselves.
Efforts to improve access to healthcare and basic infrastructure must be prioritized, along with measures to reduce poverty and address discrimination.
At a policy level, Human Rights Reporters Ghana has called for greater investment in the healthcare system, particularly in rural areas. This could include establishment of a public health emergency fund to support epidemic preparedness, response, and prevention initiatives, expanding the number of trained healthcare professionals, improving medical facilities and equipment, and strengthening outreach programs to bring healthcare services to underserved communities.
Additionally, efforts to prevent and treat communicable diseases must be intensified. This includes providing access to affordable medications and vaccines, as well as educating individuals and communities about prevention measures such as mosquito nets and safe sex practices.
At the community level, Human Rights Reporters Ghana has emphasized the importance of building awareness about health issues and empowering individuals to take control of their own health. This could include initiatives such as health education campaigns, community health screenings, and peer-led support groups.
HRRG as a member of the Ghana Civil Society Organization Platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) equally doubling as the Co-convener for the SDG 3 platform with support of Send Ghana and its network members are currently leading the advocacy campaign in Ghana to ensure that government put in place a public health emergency fund to cater for healthcare delivery in the country.
In conclusion, issues of health remain a major concern for the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG). Access to healthcare, communicable diseases, and lack of basic infrastructure are just a few of the many challenges faced by individuals and communities in Ghana. Addressing these challenges will require a sustained effort from all stakeholders, and a commitment to promoting the right to health as a fundamental human right.
Source:Joseph Kobla Wemakor
The writer is a staunch human rights activist, National SDGs Champion and Founder/Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG)