Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye is Director-General, Ghana Health Service

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is spearheading the introduction of geriatric care services to help meet the health needs of the country’s aged population.

Geriatric medicine is a specialty concerned with all aspects of healthcare for elderly people, including treatment and prevention of diseases and disabilities.

Director-General of GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, says a department has been created at the Family Health Division following the increasing demand for the service for Ghanaians above 65 years, constituting over 5 percent of the country’s population.

He also announced the establishment of regulatory services and curriculum for pre-service training in geriatric care.

“We want to advocate and establish regulatory services for geriatric services and establish curriculum for pre-service training in geriatric care. The last census, 5 percent of the population was over 65. I am sure that when we finish this census, that number would go up,” he said.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye was highlighting 12-key detailed areas of the Service’s five-year strategic plan for 2022 – 2026 at the first-ever Senior Managers’ Meeting in Kumasi.

The meeting, under the theme, “Strengthening Service delivery and Creating a Resilient and Sustainable System for Health: Amidst Covid-19 and Beyond to achieve Universal Health Coverage.”

This strategic plan reflects the priority needs of the GHS in achieving access to timely but quality and comprehensive healthcare services for Ghanaians.

According to Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, the Ghana Health Service cannot overlook the large population in need of geriatric services, hence the establishment of wellness centres across the country.

“That’s the group we cannot overlook. We are all moving to that direction so we’ve created a department in family health and we need to put all the systems in place to provide geriatric care in all the communities,” he stated.

“We want to also establish wellness centres across the country and create new services to meet increasing demands from the community,” he added.

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New 5-year strategic plan to rebrand GHS

The new five-year strategic plan seeks to rebrand the Ghana Health Service, taking into consideration increased collaboration with the private sector for healthcare financing, equitable distribution of well-motivated and productivity from the over 140,000 workforce of the GHS.

It will also ensure regional and district health services are fully equipped and functional, especially those in the newly created regions.

The GHS will establish model health centres to provide comprehensive 24-hour service in selected sub-districts.

“We are also to help establish model health facilities, that is health centres with comprehensive 24-hour service in selected sub-districts.

“This has come out because of the fact that we have many health centers that are operating at very, very short time sometimes from 8 and by 2 o’clock it is over because of lack of staff.

“We want to ensure that they remain active for 24-hours and fully equipped so that they can serve the people and reduce the pressure on first referral levels, that are, district and regional hospitals,” says Dr. Kuma-Aboagye.

Reflecting on the theme for the meeting, he said it was a call to take stock of achievements, lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic and also to sustain the gains whilst applying them to existing systems to help achieve targets of the Universal Health Coverage.