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Health ministry launches community based health planning services in the northern region


The Ministry of Health has launched a Community Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) policy in the northern regional capital, Tamale. The CHPS initiative is a national scale up of the Navrongo Community Health and Family Planning Project, based on advancement in Bangladesh.

The Navrongo project was launched in 1994 as a 3 village pilot study relocating nurses to communities where they would work at community health posts and provide doorstep services to treat malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhea diseases and other childhood illnesses, and provide family planning services and immunization outreach.

The project used community health nurses and community volunteers mainly for referral services and as community and social mobilization agents.

The initiative proved to have a positive health impact on the community. Child mortality was reduced by 30 percent and total fertility was reduced by one birth. According to the ministry, the case load increased eight fold, immunization and family planning coverage improved and fertility and mortality rates declined.

In 1999 a consensus was reached to adopt CHPS, developed as a scale up of the Navrongo initiative as a national strategy to improve access, efficiency and quality health care.

The Ministry held a stakeholders forum in Tamale to educate participants on the policy and to encourage them to accept the policy as a good strategy to attain national coverage of health services. The forum was on the theme; Accelerating Attainment of Universal Health coverage and Bridging the Access in Equity Gap.

After several years of implementation, in 2012, the President John Dramani Mahama, tasked the ministry of Health with the responsibility of redeveloping the CHPS policy to fit into modern health care system.

The model, the ministry says, works to transform rural health care service delivery from clinic-based care to outreach workers who actively seek patients in their homes.

This relocation of services extends primary health care to under-served communities. The ministry outlined leadership problems, and unclear definition of the CHPS concept, and issues with resource mobilization at the national, regional, district and community levels as challenges facing CHPS

Another issue in CHPS scale up involves the deployment, distribution, retention and production of Community Health Officers (CHOs) in needed zones.

“Due to a poor deployment plan, many CHOs are not resident in the zones, while those with compounds have become preoccupied with providing curative services and are not able to offer preventive and promotive services,” the ministry revealed.

The ministry stated further that many CHOs desire to continue their education, leading to dissatisfaction with their current placement.

It therefore assured Ghanaians of government readiness to provide health care facilities to the people of Ghana to enable the nation bridge the inequity gap in healthcare delivery. The forum was attended by chiefs, stakeholders, health training institutions and MMDCEs.

By;Lilian D.Walter/

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