Government and German pharmaceutical giant Bayer have collaborated to launch a €1.7 million Ghana Heart Initiative (GHI) pilot project at the Accra City Hotel, Wednesday.
The GHI project will be implemented in partnership with the Health Ministry (MOH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
On behalf of the Bayer AG and implementation supported by the GIZ, the GHI project seeks to improve the risk assessment and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) at primary, secondary and tertiary level of care offered in public health facilities in the country.
The pilot will initially be in health facilities in the Greater Accra Region over a two year period before.
In his keynote address, Dr. Emmanuel Odame Ankrah, MOH Director of Policy & Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, stressed on the need to improve CVD risk assessment and management as one of the main challenges in achieving Ghana’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the health sector.
Welcoming the support provided by Bayer, he located the GHI-project in the national strategy pursuing the SDGs.
“The GHI project seeks to lay the foundation for good quality CVD care in Ghana, and it is geared towards human capacity strengthening and the provision of basic equipment at all levels of care,” he said.
He further reiterated the importance of “strategic partnerships for proper health interventions” and called upon “all the necessary governmental agencies and stakeholders to do their best to support this project.”
According to him, the Health Ministry has “fully embraced the GHI-project“, and provides it with “full backing”.
For his part, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General of the Ghana Health Service, emphasized the importance of improving the treatment of CVDs in the country.
“The whole society of Ghana as well as most other sub-Saharan countries have not woken up to the realities that these deaths are preventable through lifestyle modification and risk factor detection and modification/treatment,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders involved, he further expressed his gratitude and pledged his support.
“We are grateful to Bayer for this partnership to fight CVDs. Ghana Health Service will continue to support this initiative from this pilot phase to its full implementation to the benefit of Ghana and Africa as a whole,” he said.
The GHI project commenced in November 2018 and will come to a close in October 2020. If successful, the approach of the GHI project bears potential to be rolled out to the entire country.
The opening ceremony was attended by Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Emmanuel Odame Ankrah, Director of Policy & Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, Ministry of Health, Dr. Michael Devoy, Bayer’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Timo Menniken, Director General International Services, GIZ,and other dignitaries from the Health sector.
The Ghana Heart Initiative project
In order to improve the risk assessment and management of CVDs offered in public health facilities in the country with special emphasis on the Greater Accra Region, GIZ, the Ghanaian Ministry of Health, as well as the Ghana Health Service join as implementing partners to develop national guidelines on the treatment of CVDs.
This concept will serve as a prerequisite for a standardised approach in the management of CVDs for the entire country.
In a further step, this new standard is used to develop training concepts and capacity building methods, which are piloted in up to 53 health facilities in the Greater Accra Region.
The hereby strengthened capacity of Ghanaian health professionals in the treatment of CVDs is supplemented by the provision of basic equipment for risk assessment and the management of CVDs in a selected number of hospitals.
In order to further support the health professionals at the various levels of health facilities in managing risk factors, prevent/manage complications, as well as to reduce referrals, the project envisages a free telephone support service.
This Support Center will be based at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital providing around the clock assistance to all medical facilities in the Greater Accra Region. The staff will include cardiology residents and specialists.