• HEALTH

    SDG 3 – MPA-Ghana continues with its innovations in health systems strengthening
    to reach deprived and underserved communities by leveraging
    on partnerships to expand the following:

Free Senior High and Primary School Medical Screening

The Government of Ghana in 2017 launched the School Health Screening for pre-tertiary students across the country with the goal to ensure optimal health, nutrition and wellness of the students and contribute to improved learning outcomes. Since the inception, MPA has been collaborating with the Ghana Health Service and Ghana Education Service to provide health screening for the students.

In response to the President’s directive to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to institutionalise the screening of all new entrants in public second cycle institutions as well as primary school children under the Free Senior High and Primary School Programme, Millennium Promise partnered with the two institutions to implement the free medical screening program.

The goal of the programme is to ensure optimal health, nutrition and wellness of all pre-tertiary students and contribute to improved learning outcomes. The program has helped to diagnose and provided health solutions to freshmen entering senior secondary schools with medical complications. The main activities of the health screening consist of four components: Medical History, Eye examination, Laboratory Investigation and Nutrition.

Data collection and monitoring of the program is vital given the large amount of data being collected every year on each student. In line with the government’s policy of accelerating the shift to paperless systems across national programs, MPA has supported the program with Information and communication technology (ICT) tools to enhance the monitoring of the activities. MPA’s support which includes hardware like laptops, mobile phones and tablets, applications with the capacity to create digital data collection, and software that allows users to upload data to storage facilities in real-time, have been implemented to reduce conventional challenges associated with traditional paper-based data collection. In areas where internet connectivity is a challenge, devices that allow users to collect data without internet connection have been provided so that data are uploaded onto the cloud when field staff move to an area with internet connectivity.

Telemedicine 

A structured electronic-consultation platform that offers timely intervention for emergency health cases and answers important healthcare questions from all levels of healthcare for rapid and accurate diagnosis, thereby reducing deaths caused by unnecessary delays and lack of access through teleconsultation. This is most relevant in hard-to-reach communities where access to professional care is limited or absent. Telemedicine improves emergency response to healthcare delivery and referrals.

MPA is Supporting the national Telemedicine scale up by providing Technical support, installation and training of GHS staff. Doctors and nurses/midwives are attached to the centers to provide expertise support. A Tele-consultation center receives 100-150 calls a week.

By end of 2018, six of Ghana’s ten regions had been covered by Telemedicine. MPA provided maintenance and Technical support to Teleconsultation Centres and also provided technical training to GHS IT and TCC staff in Greater Accra and Eastern regions.

Community Health Worker Program

Community Health Workers (CHW) provide access to quality and reliable primary healthcare. In 2016, the Government of Ghana scaled up the Community Health Workers (CHWs) program nationwide, starting with 20,000 CHWs. Adequate CHWs were made available to cover the seven CHW Demonstration districts in Ashanti region, namely Sekyere Kumawu, Bosome Freho, Amansie West, Amansie Central, Sekyere Central, Ejura Sekyeredumasi, and Asokore Mampong.  Current reduction in child and maternal health indicators in the seven districts are partly due to the services provided by Community Health Workers in the rural communities. Each Community health worker is responsible to visit 150 households every month. Use of an electronic platform has considerably helped to track the activities of community health workers in the demonstration districts.

Indigenes of respective communities who met the selection criteria were identified, trained, equipped, incentivized and motivated to deliver basic health care services to residents of their respective communities to prevent diseases, promote healthy lifestyles, improve primary healthcare services as part of strengthening Ghana’s Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) strategy. 

CHWs trace defaulters, register household members and monitor referrals to ensure adherence, thereby strengthening the health delivery system.

Rural Diagnostics and Lab Services 

The goal of the rural diagnostic and laboratory services (RDLS) is to provide low-cost, easily accessible package of diagnostic tools and techniques that can be easily deployed at or near the point of care in remote rural communities to support maternal and child health services. The RDLS aims to extend lab services to underserved communities and transmitting results electronically to health workers.

RDLS is an easily accessible diagnostic laboratory services established in a rural community in Ghana – based on MPA’s proven Tropical Laboratory Initiative (TLI) concept – to serve a network of referring clinics to support health services, especially those related to maternal and child health. In 2018, stakeholders from the health sector of Ghana were engaged to discuss upscaling this initiative in Ghana.

The laboratory receives samples of blood, urine, stool, and sputum daily from all referring clinics. Samples are collected from the clinics by motorbike riders who bring them directly to the laboratory for same-day analysis. The result is recorded in an electronic data communication system and can be immediately viewed on a dedicated tablet at the original health center by the healthcare provider who requested the test. The program has saved many pregnant women from traveling on unmotorable roads to urban cities for laboratory investigations.

In 2019, MPA plans to establish 4 more RDLS/TLI. One each in Ashanti, Central, Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions. A Stakeholders Meeting has been held involving staff of Ghana Health Service, Millennium Promise, the National Biomedical Scientists Association and representatives from the selected regions.

Strengthening Systems for Vital Events Reporting and Monitoring 

MPA aims to provide technical and logistical support to the Births and Deaths department to help strengthen the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) system in the country. During the reporting period, MPA held initial meeting with the Registrar of the Births and Deaths Registry in Accra on 15th January 2019 to discuss the current system for births and deaths registration in the country and identify possible areas of partnership.

MPA will develop state-of-the-art systems to enhance the effectiveness of planning and the delivery of services, especially to underserved populations and locations. The system will be rolled out in Amansie West district and then scaled-up in a phased approach. At the district level, MPA will work with multiple stakeholders such as the Ghana Health Service, District Assemblies and Ghana Education Services to enhance cooperation and coordination of roles and responsibilities. MPA will build user-friendly reports into the CRVS database in order to promote the use of data for decision making at the various levels.

Community Outreach on Diabetes 

MPA, JoyFm and Rotary Club Ghana worked with the Ghana Health service to conduct the 2018 community outreach and social mobilization on diabetes in selected communities. The exercise was undertaken in two districts in 2018 [Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) and Abura-Asibu-Kwamankese (AAK)] and in Fanteakwa in 2019.

The project seeks to educate the population into adopting simple lifestyle practices for prevention of diabetes and taking diabetes testing to the doorsteps of people and linking those who needed care with the appropriate medical facilities.

Polio Immunization with Ghana National PolioPlus Committee

MPA and the Ghana National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International (GNPPC) entered into partnership in 2017 to improve routine immunization during World Polio Days (in October).

MPA worked with the respective Rotary Clubs in the selected districts, Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Youth Employment Agency (YEA) at various levels to mobilize, train and deploy the CHWs and eHealth Technical Assistants in some selected districts. During the immunization week, the trained CHWs and CHOs embarked on home visits to educate households especially parents/guardians of children under 5years to ensure full participation in the immunization exercise.

Mini durbars were held to climax the mobilization process and to offer polio immunization to eligible children. Although the target was Polio, several districts took advantage of the programme to undertake other health screenings and health related activities. Some of the activities undertaken included Body Mass Index computations, checking of blood Pressure, Nutrition and medical counseling amongst others.

 

Over Four Thousand (4,000) children received polio vaccination across all the selected districts in 2018.

A number of community leaders, including a Member of Parliament, Chiefs, Religious leaders, Assembly Persons and Unit Committee members were present to grace the occasion.