5th ASADI conference opens in Accra
The fifth annual conference of Africa Science Academies Development Initiative (ASADI) opened in Accra on Monday to deliberate on the latest key trends in maternal, newborn and child health in sub-Saharan Africa.
It would also highlight the remaining maternal and child health challenges facing the region as well as engage senior African policymakers and planners in dialogue on the new programmatic and policy directions to eliminate the menace as the region strives to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) which was celebrating its 50-year anniversary was hosting the conference under the theme “Improving maternal, newborn and child health in sub-Saharan Africa”.
In a video message to the participants in Accra, Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations called on African governments to strengthen their health systems to provide quality service to the people.
Mr. Annan said the issue of maternal mortality was a humanitarian imperative requiring stronger measures to eliminate it.
He called on scientists to move beyond research and engage with governments on best possible ways to implement their findings for the good of society.
Dr. Elias Sory, Director General, Ghana Health Service, said inadequate personnel and equipment were hindering efforts at reducing maternal mortality in the country.
Dr. Sory said the practice of family planning, which was identified as one of the best methods of reducing child mortality was still not popular with Ghanaians thus fuelling the menace.
He however said even though the country was recording some progress in reducing the trend, the cases were still unacceptably high.
Dr. Tigest Ketsela, Director, Division of Family and Reproductive Health, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, said the meeting offered opportunity for more partnerships to scale-up efforts towards achieving the MDGs maternal and child health.
Dr. Ketsela called on national academies to support efforts of their various countries to close the gap towards the 2015 deadline for achieving the MDGs.
Professor Reginald Amonoo, President of the GAAS, said the proceedings at the meeting would be published to provide evidenced-based advice on health and other matters to policy makers.
As part of the opening ceremony, a publication by the ASADI entitled “Science in Action” which provided research findings and practical solutions to maternal, newborn and child health issues was launched.
Professor Fred Sai, former President of GAAS and Reproductive Health Consultant, who launched the publication, said it offered hope for the continent as it gathers the momentum to eliminate the menace.
Professor Sai advocated for a leadership group dominated by women to work towards the elimination of the menace to ensure the country’s compliance with the 2015 deadline for the MDGs.