Koforidua, Sept. 1, GNA – The fourth General Meeting of the Ghana Association of Public Health Technical Officers (GAPHTO), has been held in Koforidua on Thursday.
It is aimed at upgrading officers’ knowledge and skills of their work to benefit the health sector.
The theme for this year’s meeting was “Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases: The Role of Public Health Technical Officers”.
The well attended meeting had participants from the Disease Control, Nutrition, Health Information, Leprosy and Field departments of health offices around the country.
Also at the meeting were key players of all public health programmes in the country, where their skills are expected to be sharpened to provide quality healthcare for clients and also to ensure that health officers worked within the code of ethics.
Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, called on the technical health officers to put more emphasis on primary prevention of diseases through community based health promotion and instituting public health programmes.
Mr Terlabi said the development of a nation “depended on the health of its people and that a nation that was full of sick people could not develop as expected”.
He urged healthcare providers to bring healthcare delivery to the door steps of the people in their communities and workplaces, adding that, drugs meant for treatment must be made available, accessible and affordable for those who might need them.
Mr Terlabi urged the technical officers to perform their duties effectively and efficiently so that the Better Ghana agenda of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) could be attained in the area of health.
In an address read on his behalf, the Director of Health Service, Dr Elias Sory, observed that, emerging diseases such as H1N1 and some re-emerging diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and malaria were as a result of certain natural and human behavioural factors.
He said climate change and global warming were expanding in areas in which certain disease causing vectors such as mosquitoes could previously not survive but could now, adding that, natural and man-made disasters increased transmission and outbreaks of diseases.
He also disclosed that human adoption of certain exotic animals as pets led to the outbreak of certain diseases and that inappropriate use of medicines and pesticides as well as population movements also lead to the emergence of some diseases.
Dr Sory acknowledged that action was required by all health officials and Ghanaians to fight the emerging and re-emerging diseases in the country such as cholera, yellow fever, cerebrum-spinal meningitis (CSM), among others.
“You are the key personnel responsible for the data collection, collation and analysis for action. The information flow and necessary actions must be timely and appropriate if epidemics are to be avoided and minimized” he told the officers.
Mr Edmund Osei Kwakye, the General Secretary of GAPHTO, reminded the health officers that the emerging and re-emerging diseases were a call to re-awaken them to their core technical duties in order to develop appropriate strategies to manage and prevent the occurrence of such diseases.