An official of the Ministry of Health (MOH) says the Ghana government is embarking on the building of 1600 Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds around the country between 2014 and 2017.
The exercise would cost the country $210 million, Kwame Amponsah Sarfo of the Capital Investment Management Directorate of the MOH has said at a one-day Stakeholder Forum organized by the Cabinet Secretariat in Accra Tuesday June 16, 2015. The Forum was under the theme, “How to accelerate the scale-up and service delivery improvement of CHPS towards universal health coverage.”
The CHPS Initiative, started about 10 years ago, employs strategies tested in the successful Navrongo experiment to guide national health reforms that mobilize volunteerism, resources and cultural institutions for supporting community-based primary health care.
Of the 5487 areas mapped out for the project, only 1200 have compounds and 2580 are functional, even though about 6500 compounds are needed in the country.
The Forum held under an initiative to restructure government to for greater delivery and efficiency requires the Cabinet Secretariat to strengthen the process of policymaking and track the implementation of Executive policy priority decisions.
Addressing the Forum, the Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia noted that the CHPS was started based on lessons learned from Bangladesh with the aim to provide universal health coverage to Ghanaians.
He said at the onset of the programme, it sought to deliver community services that will aid the treatment of malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrheal disease and other childhood illnesses as well as providing family planning services and immunization outreach.
“This was done through a service delivery model that first required a compound where Community Health Nurses could live and be reached in emergency situations, as well as a courtyard for delivering Antenatal Care and other services,” he said.
He indicated that the success of the exercise in pilot areas has led to reduction in child mortality to 38 percent and total fertility has reduced by one birth.
The programme however, has continued to suffer so many lapses, hindering scaling up among them misunderstanding and confusion.
“At the implementation level, technical health and local government officers have referred severally to the confusion in directives received from the center,” he said, adding, “We are aware that written guidelines have not been adequately disseminated, and have been difficult to understand and implement.”
The programme is also facing the challenge of clarity of roles and responsibilities as local government and district assemblies show a willingness to scale up.
At the end of the Forum two main activities would be pursued: These are a Service Review: Which is a comprehensive tool that the programme and the National School of Government International (NSGI) of the Department for International Development (DFID) have developed and will be used as an on-the-ground analysis of CHPS in order to improve performance will begin immediately, and the presentation of the Service Review to the Ministry of Health which will outline an action plan for their implementation.
By Emmanuel K Dogbevi