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KOICA provides $9m for health delivery in U/East Region

BY: Alhandu Abdul-Hamid
 Dr Kofi Issah, the Upper East Regional Director of Ghana Health Services, speaking at the function
Dr Kofi Issah, the Upper East Regional Director of Ghana Health Services, speaking at the function

The Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) is to support the Ghana Health Service with $9 million to improve Community-Based Primary Health Care in the Upper East Region.

The five-year project is expected to enhance community engagement and support to Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPs) and improve the quality of maternal, neonatal and child health services at health facilities in the region.

It is also aimed at strengthening health system environment, digitising health information systems and establishing sustainable emergency referral care.

The  project is being implemented in all 13 districts in the Upper East Region in 120 CHPs zones as intervention areas. Fifty-five zones will implement various aspects of a community health volunteer incentive scheme and an emergency transport system.

The project launch, which was on the theme; "Improving Community-Based Primary Health Care through CHPs strengthening”, was attended by the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Bukari, regional and district directors of health services. Others included municipal and district chief executives, representatives of KOICA and other development partners.

CHPS

Launching the project in Bolgatanga yesterday, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Kofi Issah, said an idea that was conceived at the Navrongo Health Research Centre about two decades ago had now become a national policy.

"This idea or concept known as CHPs served as one of Ghana's answers to the principles of primary health care as espoused in the Alma Ata Declaration of 1978," he stressed.

He said after piloting it in communities in Kassena Nankana, CHPs was now being implemented in over 6,000 zones in the country and 290 functional zones in the region.

Implementation

Dr Issah said a project steering committee had been set up to oversee activities of the project, while a nine-member project implementation unit, made up of both Ghanaians and Koreans, was also established in April 2016 to conduct the day-to-day administration and management of the project under the supervision of a regional health management team.

"The outcomes, it is hoped, will help reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity within a strengthened health system and a population that will have universal access to health care," the director indicated.

Dr Issah expressed the hope that all partners would work hard to make the project a success in the next five years.

Benefits

The National Coordinator of CHPs, Mr Barnabas Kwame Yeboah, said the initiative had lots of benefits.

Socially, he said, CHPs promoted people-centred and close-to-client health services which brought health delivery closer to households in the communities and also ensured that individual communities took charge of their own health needs.

Technically, the coordinator said, CHPs addressed inequity in health systems, improved access to health services and developed resilient community-based health services by responding to new health challenges based on a life-course approach.

Economically, CHPs engenders the need for financial authorities and private sector people to cooperate, by focusing on strengthening prevention and health promotion and operation at the community level.

Significance

Mr Bukari said primary health care was significant in health delivery services.

“However, over the years, this level of  health delivery in Ghana has been fraught with several challenges, thereby limiting the delivery of expected services.

“These informed the coming into being of CHPs in 2000 as a national strategy to improve access and utilisation of health services and associated inequalities," he stressed.