A recent exercise undertaken by Ghana Health Service on Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) verification and implementation has placed the Upper West Region first as the best performing region in CHPS implementation.
The Regional Directorate of Health Services (RDHS) achieved this feat by constructing new CHPS leading to a 63 percent increase in demarcated zones, training and deployment of Community Health Officers to man the CHPS zones and actively involving community health volunteers.
This came to light when the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services Dr. Osei Kuffuor Afreh addressed participants at the 2018 Annual Regional Health Sector Performance Review at Wa on the 4th of March 2019. The review conference was hinged on “The Role of Quality Data in Achieving Universal Health Coverage.”(title case).
Dr. Kuffuor Afreh disclosed that, in partnership with JICA, the RDHS is expanding the mandate of CHPS center. The new initiative dubbed ‘CHPS for Life” or “CHPS Plus” would address Universal Health Coverage for all. This would include pregnant women, children, adolescents, adults and appropriate care for the aged.
Dr. Kuffour Afreh was however, unhappy about some challenges the Service is faced with in redeeming claims from the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). He said the new policy by the Authority which requires the Ghana Health Service and other clients to generate codes to redeem claims is problematic in some parts of the region because of network failure.
He also implored the NHIA to consider setting up an office in the region to facilitate their business transactions saying “all claims are submitted at Tamale Claims Processing Centre, a situation we find unbearable and unfair since it poses a threat to staff availability for the service delivery amidst risk of travelling to and fro every month to Tamale.”
The Regional Director of Health Services expressed disappointment on the refusal of posting to the region and some district by some medical staff. Although the doctor/population ratio had increased marginally, Dr. Kuffuor Afreh believed more work needs to be done to encourage staff accept posting to rural areas. He said management has placed a temporary embargo on transferring staff out of the region because of the imbalance in in-postings and out-postings.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Hon. Amidu Issahaku Chinnia said the theme for the conference was very important as it stressed on the need for data. He said as Ghana has committed itself to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the Ghana Health Service must be able to provide affordable, equitable and easily accessible heath care to all; a feat the Deputy Minister maintained cannot be achieved without accurate data.
Hon. Chinnia said professionalism is key to achieving the universal health coverage saying “let us not forget to change our negative attitudes towards work.”
He cited a recent study by the Community Development Alliance (CDA) in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions which suggests that clients and residents perceive some health professionals to be corrupt and not dedicated to their work.
The Deputy Minister expressed gratitude to development partners like JICA and UNICEF for their continuous technical and logistical support to health service delivery in the region.
The review conference was attended by staff of the Ghana Health Service across the region, traditional authorities, religious leaders and some implementing partners of the Ghana Health Services.