More than half of Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) zones lack basic amenities to support the delivery of quality health services to the public.

Director in charge of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PPMED), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Koku Awoonor- Williams, said apart from the hanging of weighing scales and thermometers, more than half of CHPS zones lack basic equipment.

He said logistics availability and the issue of “no drugs” has been identified as the weakest links in CHPS implementation.

Currently, there are 6,011 CHPS zones country-wide and only 15 percent of these CHPS zones have midwives manning them.

Dr Awoonor-Williams, who said this when he gave an overview of Ghana’s Primary Health Care (PHC) in Accra, noted that seven out of 10 CHPS zones don’t have Blood Pressure apparatus.

He was speaking at a cross-sector stakeholder engagement on PHC in Ghana held by the GHS and the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR).

The meeting discussed mechanisms that would give more visibility to and attract more investments to PHC in the country.

Citing the CHPS National Survey and Vital Science Profile surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Dr Awoonor-Williams said, globally some of the challenges facing PHC was lack of political commitment, intersectoral action for health, less attention to some component of PHC such as rehabilitative and palliative care.

He said Ghana is not excluded from those challenges affecting PHC globally adding that PHC is an important vehicle for achieving Universal Health Care (UHC).

He said it is important that the guiding principle of PHC such as community participation, intersectoral collaboration and equitable distribution of resources and use of appropriate technology should engage the minds of stakeholders.

Dr Awoonor-Williams said the issue of leadership and management are major concerns identified in the two surveys and must be addressed with urgency.

He said there is the need to look at the challenge of discordance between what was on documents and in practice adding that the Births and Deaths Registry and health facilities have different data on births and deaths.

The Director of PPMED said there is the need to put in place strong quality management, decentralization of PHC as well as address concern pertaining to leadership and management.

On the way forward, Dr Awonor-Williams said there is the need to revise health policy or strategy documents with clarity on PHC implementation functions and roles at all levels.

Additionally, he said, PHC resource allocation criteria should be established with equity criteria for sub-national and peripheral levels as well as expand stakeholder, public and community awareness and engagement measured through surveys.  

Dr Anthony Ofosu, Deputy Director-General, GHS, said one of the objectives of the meeting was to provide participants with an update on the status of Ghana’s PHC system with an emphasis on priorities and gaps.