With support from Global Affairs Canada and the Government of Ghana, experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada have developed a 5-year plan to address gaps in child health including Sickle Cell Disease, Nutrition, and Neonatal Care. With a goal of training 500 pediatric nurse specialists by 2020, the SickKids-Ghana Initiative will transform the state of child health in the country, while developing the required infrastructure to ensure ongoing sustainability of the program.
Children make up 40% of Ghana's population, yet there are few healthcare providers who are sufficiently trained to address their specialized needs. As a result, more than 54,000 newborns and children under five die each year-often due to preventable illnesses. In a country of more than 26 million people, there are only 10 doctors and nurses per 10,000 people. Working with local partners, SickKids will scale up the first specialized pediatric nurse training program for all of West Africa.
SickKids strongly believes where you live should not determine if you live. This investment will impact child morbidity and mortality in Ghana. Specifically, it will address gaps in care such as malnutrition, Sickle Cell Disease and Neonatal Care. Nurses trained through this program go on to become leaders in their communities and active advocates for child health. They understand the Ghanaian context of care, enabling them to best affect improved pediatric health outcomes.
Meeting a child's long-term health needs will have major impact on literacy rates since school becomes an option for healthy children. Increased literacy helps safeguard the health of future generations. Healthy children also grow to become productive members of society, impacting supply of human capital human and labor output. As well, a healthy child reduces poverty. Illnesses place financial burdens on the family. Healthy kids allow parents to save more and maintain higher income.