The United States government has invested more than $13.5million in Ghana’s health sector, particularly in maternal and child health within the last five years of its support programme for the country.
In all, 72 nursing and midwifery skills laboratories and 12 model community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds were refurbished and equipped in beneficiary communities, while 420 principals and tutors in those schools were also trained in the effective use and maintenance of the laboratories.
As part of the support, CHPS implementation guidelines and costing tools to help plan for activities at the CHPS level were developed.
An e-learning Application was also developed to enable nursing and midwifery students to access quality learning and teaching materials on their electronic devices.
The programme also trained 5,300 Community Health Management Committee members and 750 frontline community health workers on a new CHPS policy and guidelines.
They were implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its “Maternal and Child Survival Programme.”
At a forum to formally bring the programme to a close in Accra last Thursday, the Health Office Director of USAID Ghana, Ms Janean Davis, explained that the initiative was part of a global programme which sought to support high impact health interventions to end preventable child and maternal deaths.
Under the five-year initiative, she said the US agency funded and provided technical assistance to some health centres to enhance maternal and child care services in the country.
Since 2014, the USAID, she said, had collaborated with the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and other agencies to implement innovative programmes and activities to strengthen Ghana’s health system, with a focus on the prevention of maternal, newborn and child deaths.
Considering the fact that nurses and midwives were at the forefront of delivering maternal and child care, Ms Davis said the programme also focused on providing them with an improved pre-service learning environment to hone their clinical skills.
“As a result of these interventions, the next generation of nurses and midwives are better equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver quality health care which is critical to supporting Ghana’s goal of universal health coverage,” Ms Davis added.
To further assist the government to make Ghana’s health system efficient, accountable and responsive, Ms Davis said the USAID collaborated with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to conduct a study to review and evaluate the NHIS.
She said the agency also supported the government to implement nurturing care for early child development framework by training frontline health workers to integrate early stimulation and responsive parenting into community health and nutrition services.
According to Ms Davis, the assistance by the US Government to Ghana was based on a mutual support goal of strengthening Ghana’s health system.
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, expressed appreciation to the US Government for its support to Ghana’s health sector over the years.
He said the initiatives undertaken by the USAID would be sustained to ensure that the objectives of enhancing maternal and child healthcare services were achieved.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the guidelines developed for the CHPS compound, for instance, would support the government and its development partners to scale up CHPS projects across the country as they worked towards achieving universal health coverage.
He said USAID, through its technical assistance, had also helped to improve the country’s infection, prevention and control systems by developing a national guideline and downstream training at district and some regional hospitals.