Representatives of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) have engaged health professionals, managers of health facilities and other stakeholders in a meeting to discuss how to scale up selected best practices in the health sector to improve healthcare outcomes in Ghana.
It also discussed how to make those and other best practices from other member countries models for the entire region to improve health care within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region.
The two-day meeting, which took place in Accra last Monday and Tuesday, was facilitated by the Ministry of Health.
The meeting was a follow-up to the Second ECOWAS Forum on best practices — an annual health forum to discuss the implementation of best health practices across the region held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2016 where Ghana presented some best practices it was implementing.
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The best practices Ghana presented were the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS), alternative birthing position, pregnancy school, employee assistance programme and the community emergency system — a life-saving community-based initiative by the Ghana Health Service.
The Second Forum focused on promoting Reproductive Health with the resolve that priority should be given to promoting innovations in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in line with relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It also looked at boosting institutional reforms, human resources for health, health technology and knowledge translation, and use of evidence-based data in policies and programmes in the West African region.
It was dubbed “promoting innovations in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in connection with the Sustainable Development Goals”.
In a speech read on his behalf to open the meeting in Accra, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, expressed optimism that if interventions presented by Ghana as local best practices were scaled up, it would have greater impact on health outcomes.
“The Way Forward plan of the above forum was for countries to identify up to three good practices for implementation.
“Accordingly, Ghana requested financial and technical support from WAHO in January 2017 to create a health information management system at the Ministry of Health and implement the other mentioned best practices,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the high hopes the MoH had initially dwindled with the passage of time until a few weeks ago when the issues were revisited.
He said it was their belief that the implementation of the above-mentioned good practices in health would significantly improve health care by enhancing quality of data for planning, policy formulation and decision making.
“I take this opportunity to thank WAHO and its partners for deciding to support us,” he said.
An official of WAHO, Dr Olorunda Joseph Olugbenga, appealed to participants to take the meeting, which he described as technical, very seriously, particularly because of the impact it would have on health outcomes in Ghana and the entire region.
He said since the professionals were the implementers of the mentioned best practices, they were in a better position to identify implementation gaps, further potential of those initiatives, as well as suggest how best to sustain, improve and scale them up.
He took participants through the major highlights of the forum based on which the current meeting was held and the follow-up activities required of stakeholders of that forum.