Ghana’s aim at achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030 has been given a big boost with a 9 Million USD project for Strengthening Community-Based Health Services.
The five-year project is code named “CHPS” for Life. The project, which will be implemented in Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana, is a collaboration between the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service. The goal of “CHPS for Life” is to contribute to Ghana’s efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The UN as part of the SDGs has tasked all Member States to achieve UHC by 2030. This agenda requires governments to guarantee their populations access to quality essential health services including safe, effective, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines without families and individuals being exposed to financial hardships. In Ghana, the government has proclaimed the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) program the national strategy to propel the country forward to meet the UHC goal.
Addressing participants at the launch of the “CHPS” for Life project in Accra, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare said the project is a big boost to Ghana’s UHC agenda because it provides support for improving access to Primary Health Care (PHC) through CHPS using the “Life Course Approach”. Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare explained that the life course approach aims to increase the effectiveness of interventions throughout all the stages of a person’s life. “The Project will therefore focus not only on mothers and children but also on the aged and other family members through prevention, early detection and care of non-communicable diseases and health promotion for all age groups”.
The Director-General revealed that the Service has identified the over-concentration of the country’s primary health care strategy, CHPS on maternal and child health services to the neglect of other interventions as a result, there is a new paradigm of expanding the package of services provided under CHPS to meet everybody’s need to ensure the total health of the family. He pointed out that the new policy direction fits strongly into the new government’s health agenda of prioritizing preventive health backed by the idea to initiate the setting up of wellness clinics across the Country whereby the National Health Insurance Scheme will be used to access a wide range of preventive health services for people of all ages. Dr. Nsiah-Asare charged the various Regional Directors of health to rally their staff for the success of the project so that the lessons and best practices to be replicated in other regions.
In a speech read for him, the Minister of Health, Hon. Kweku Agyemang Manu said Ghana has a strong relationship with Japan dating back more than 50 years allowing the two countries to share many benefits. He noted that the CHPS for Life project is very important, as it is in sync with the government’s commitment to the prioritization of preventive health to promote early detection and appropriate management of diseases particularly at the community level. He lauded the government of Japan for rehabilitation of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the construction and furnishing of 84 CHPS compounds in the Upper West Region among other things. The Hon. Minister was optimistic the CHPS for Life project would contribute to the country’s goal of achieving UHC and ultimately improve the life expectancy of Ghanaians.
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan Koji Tomita said Ghana is one among three countries in Africa that the Government of Japan has prioritize for support to help them achieve UHC. He mentioned the two other countries as Kenya and Senegal and said Japan has enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Ghana for many years especially in health and medical research one of the current initiatives being the support to improve health resilience in Ghana. He was confident the collaboration would continue to inure to the benefit of the two countries.
The Regional Directors of Health Service for the three regions expressed joy for the assistance and pledged their leadership commitment to make sure the project is implemented well to benefit the communities.