Government pursues universal coverage through primary health care

The government is working to strengthen the primary health care (PHC) system to achieve universal health coverage before the 2030 mark.

The intervention involves addressing the basic health care services, including maternal health, baby and child care, which are recognised as critical to the attainment of universal health coverage.

Speaking at the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) National Project for improving Community-based PHC through Community-Based Health Planning and Services Strengthening (CHPS+ project) midline review workshop in Accra last Thursday, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said the prospects of the project were very bright.

“Luckily for Ghana, we have a system and our system is that we are very close to the communities using the CHPS system, and luckily in 2003, we introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which other countries do not have,” Dr Nsiah-Asare stated.

CHPS+ project

The CHPS+ project is a scale up from the Ghana Essential Health Improvement Project (GEHIP) which was funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and implemented in four most impoverished districts in the Upper East Region from 2010 to 2015.

The CHPS+ project is being implemented in 120 zones of all the 13 districts in the region at $9 million to enhance community engagement and support to the CHPS, including community health volunteers, community health management committees and community health officers/nurses.

The five-year project – running from 2016 to 2020 – is a collaboration between the GHS and the KOICA to strengthen the capacity of Ghana health systems in the Upper East Region.

The midline review workshop was to give a platform to key stakeholders to discuss the progress of the CHPS+ Project and the result of its recently conducted midline survey.

Dr Nsiah-Asare expressed confidence that with the kind of health projects and programmes being executed in the Upper East Region and elsewhere, “we believe we can achieve the target”.

He hinted that the government had a PHC roadmap, which comprised a package, and explained that “you will never achieve universal health coverage by sitting in the hospital and allowing patients to come and see you.

That is why we believe that it should be a total comprehensive health care system – curative, preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and also education”.

Success of CHPS+

The KOICA Country Director, Mr Yukyum Kim, said the project had achieved many milestones, including the full rollout of all field activity, and the completion and handover of all procured items, with technical support from the partners of the project.

“As we stand half-way through our journey, it is imperative for us to measure our performance to find out what works and what does not. More importantly we have to move forward and discuss how to retain the achievements we have made so far and to find solutions to the shortcomings,” Mr Kim said.

The Upper East Regional Director of the GHS, Dr Winfred Ofosu, said as far as the implementation of the project was concerned, the region was on course to achieving the targets.

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf urged the GHS to review recruitment for training to ensure, “we minimise staff attrition, competently deploy staff to the zones and ensure staff are always available to provide the needed services to the communities”.