Canada Strengthens Health Systems in Ghana

By Canada - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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OTTAWA, Canada, January 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Support for innovative scale-up project with SickKids expected to improve the health and survival of approximately 6.7 million newborns and children in Ghana

Today, at an event hosted by the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, the Honourable Christian Paradis, announced Canada's support to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) for an initiative to increase paediatric nurse training to help improve health outcomes for newborns and children in Ghana.

The five-year, Scaling Up Paediatric Nursing Care in Ghana initiative aims to strengthen health systems through training paediatric nurses and health care workers in the poorest underserved communities in Ghana. It builds on the success of a Canada-funded pilot project with SickKids that delivered innovative paediatric health worker training and strengthened the capacity of paediatric health systems in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania between 2009 and 2014. The pilot project also established the first specialized paediatric nurse training program of its kind at the University of Ghana.

“Our government is proud of our successful partnership with SickKids in strengthening paediatric health systems by training health care workers to provide quality, cost-effective and sustainable nursing and midwifery care to newborns and children in Ghana,” said PS Brown. “Scaling up our efforts will help improve the health and save the lives of even more Ghanaian newborns and children.”

The Scaling Up Paediatric Nursing Care in Ghana initiative will be implemented by SickKids, together with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives, which was established by the Government of Ghana in response to the outcome of the pilot project, and to advance nursing and midwifery professionalism, practice and leadership in Ghana.

“This investment will have both an immediate and ongoing impact on child morbidity and mortality in Ghana,” said Dr. Jemima Dennis-Awi, President, Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives. “Nurses and midwives trained through this program go on to become leaders in their communities and active advocates for child health.”

The Harper government is committed to achieving the goal of ending preventable deaths of mothers and children within a generation. Increasing the number of well-trained nurses to strengthen health systems needed to deliver high-impact services to children and families in Ghana will help reach this goal.

“Improving the health of women and children in the developing world is Canada's top international development priority,” said Minister Paradis. “Working with a wide range of partners to find new and innovative solutions to critical health challenges is key to saving lives.”

“This collaboration between SickKids, Canada and the Government of Ghana represents the importance of partnerships at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health,” said Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, Chief, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health. “These partnerships are what allow us to participate in the scaling up of evidence-based interventions to improve health systems in areas that need it the most.”

This initiative is part of Canada's ongoing commitment to maternal, newborn and child health. It will also help Ghana's Ministry of Health reach its target to train 1,500 paediatric nurse specialists over the next 10 to 15 years to boost capacity to deliver child survival interventions.

Quick Facts

• On May 29, 2014, at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm's Reach Summit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $3.5 billion (2015-2020) for maternal, newborn and child health. At the Summit, the Prime Minister set out a strategy to effectively reduce maternal and child deaths, with an emphasis on strengthening health systems, improving nutrition and reducing the burden of leading diseases.

• Canada recognizes the key role that Canadian civil society, academic, and private sector organizations play in saving the lives of women and children around the world, and commits to support their work in this area.

• The $370-million Partnerships for Strengthening Maternal, Newborn and Child Health call for proposals is designed to leverage Canadian expertise and innovation to help reduce maternal and child mortality and improve women's and children's health in 40 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The deadline for proposal submissions is January 15, 2015.

• Canada's effective partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is achieving real results and making a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable newborns and children. SickKids is recognized as one of the world's foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada's leading centre dedicated to advancing children's health through the integration of patient care, research and education.