Government needs to systematically increase budgetary allocations to the health sector in line with its Abuja Declaration, Mr John Nkaw, Programme Officer of SEND-Ghana, has said.

Mr Nkaw said as a way forward, government needed to outline a clear time-table for achieving the Abuja target of 15 per cent budgetary allocation to the health sector to boost the operations of hospitals across the country.

He said this at a regional policy dialogue in Tamale to release findings of a research on maternal health budget tracking conducted by SEND-Ghana last year across some 30 hospitals in the Northern Upper East and Upper West Regions.

The research, conducted in partnership with Christian Aid with support from the European Union, was to contribute to effective delivery of maternal health services in the country and progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs5).

It found that some hospitals in the three northern regions were poorly funded or received no funding at all from the government from 2011 to 2013 financial years, a situation which affected health service delivery.

Some of the hospitals covered under the research were located in Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Builsa South, Sissala East Districts and Savelugu/Nanton and Yendi Municipalities.

Mr Nkaw said with the coming into effect of the new Health Decentralization Law, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) needed to systematically increase budgetary allocations to the health sector to meet health targets.

He said government, MMDAs and donors needed to ensure regular and speedy transfer of quarterly funds for district level health service delivery to help reduce the drudgery of indebtedness to creditors of hospitals to enhance speedy delivery of services.

He recommended that government strengthen the regulatory environment to enforce compliance and maintenance of agreed standards of health professionals, facilities and medicinal and non-medicinal products to ensure provision of quality and affordable healthcare to the people.

Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Northern Regional Coordinating Director, said government attached seriousness to issues of maternal health and had directed all MMDAs to build at least two CHPS compounds every year within their jurisdictions to address such issues.