Health Ministry to strengthen primary health care
The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) will next year introduce an approach that is designed to strengthen the primary healthcare delivery system across the country.
Dubbed, Networks for Practice, the approach seeks to ensure that all those who have a stake in the health care of people (either public or private) — health facilities, CHPS compound, clinics, maternity homes; ambulance service, that operate at the sub-district level do not operate as individuals or in silos but rather, as a total health family.
With this approach, when a health facility in a geographical area needs for instance, a life-saving medication for a patient and does not have, all it can do is by asking a neighbouring facility (public or private) to supply it for later reimbursement.
Similarly, if a health facility within a geographic space is organising training or seminars for its staff or doctors, it should be easier for that health facility to call staff from other neighbouring health facilities to sit in those training programmes.
The Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Alberta Biritwum-Nyarko, disclosed this in an interview with media personnel, after the opening of a three-day Network of Care Technical Meeting organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Network of Care
Network of Care is an innovative approach to optimise health systems functioning. It is a way of strengthening existing health systems to improve their relationship and connections between the different types of health workers in order to improve efficiency and functioning of the existing health system.
Ghana has adopted a Network of Practice which includes elements of Network of Care approach for improving primary healthcare at national scale.
Universal health coverage
Throwing more light on the Network of Practice approach, Dr Biritwum-Nyarko said for the nation to achieve universal health coverage, primary healthcare needed to be solid and one of the ways to achieve this was through the Network of Practice approach.
She said the approach was piloted in 2018 in two districts in the Volta Region and currently six districts in the country were using the approach.
Dr Biritwum-Nyarko explained that the service indicators from the two districts in which the approach was piloted were positive and it was for that reason that it was being extended nationwide.
On preparation towards the nationwide implementation next year, she said all the regional and district directors had been made aware of the approach and behind the scenes, they were planning on how to put together the networks.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Director, Nursing and Midwifery at the MOH, Dr Barnabas Kwame Yeboah said, the MOH had adopted the Network of Practice as a model to improve access to all essential services including maternal and child health first at the primary health care level but with a bigger objective to connect to the secondary and tertiary level of care.
The meeting on Network of Care was, therefore, a value addition strategy and complimentary to Ghana’s Network of Practice with similar objectives to improve health systems functioning.
A speech read on behalf of the WHO representative to Ghana, Dr Francis Kasolo, said as the country worked towards reaching the sustainable development goals and accelerating improvement in maternal and newborn survival through primary health care to achieve universal health coverage, it needed to explore innovative approaches and one of those was through the Network of Care.
The Lead, Maternal Health of the WHO, Allisyn Moran, explained that the Network of Care was not a new thing that was being introduced but rather, it was to help build on what already existed and improve on how different providers could work together.