The Ministry of Health through the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched a project; Strengthening Community-based Health Services Focusing on the Life-course Approach in the three Northern Regions.

The project, abbreviated as “CHPS for Life” would be focused on the Upper West, Upper East, and Northern Regions to strengthen the health system and operationalise the revised CHPS policy and implementation guidelines.

It would introduce pilot activities to address emerging public health issues such as non-communicable diseases, youth and ageing health concerns among others.

These activities would contribute to creating a resilient health system that meets the needs of changing demographics and disease patterns in a cost-effective way.

Dr Anthony Nsia Asare, the Director General, GHS, speaking at the launch noted that, in order to create a sustainable system, the activities would be implemented with the active involvement of District Assemblies and community members.

The project is the third phase of technical cooperation projects between the GHS and JICA.

The first and second phases were implemented between 2006 to 2010 and 2011 to 2016 respectively, with the first phase focusing on scaling-up the CHPS, whilst the second was targeted at the improvement of maternal and neonatal health services in the Upper West Region, he stated.

Dr Asare added that the current project was using the life-course approach to community health by building the capacity of health workers and was being implemented from June 2017 to June 2022.

He said the life approach would further strengthen CHPS implementation and improve the health status of Ghanaians especially at the community level through effective home visits.

“We are therefore hopeful that the activities to be implemented by the project will contribute to create a resilient health system that meets the needs of changing demographics and disease patterns in a cost-effective way,” he stated.

He therefore urged the GHS staff at all levels, to support and contribute to the successful implementation of the CHPS for Life project.

Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, the Ambassador of Japan, said the three regions in the north are prioritised in Japan’s cooperation in the health sector, and that, the project would accelerate the effectiveness of the CHPS programme in the country.

According to him, once “strengthening health system resilience” emerged as one of Japan’s commitments at the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD) VI conference, and the fact that Ghana and Japan have a common vision in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, they would continue to cooperate for mutual benefit.

He expressed gratitude to all who were involved in the Project, saying that, “improvement of health environment in the North is a shared passion of Ghana, Japan and other donors as well. I wish that the success of this project will contribute to that, our common goal”.

Mr Hirofumi Hoshi, the Chief Representative, JICA Ghana Office, emphasized the need for strong leadership and commitment in the areas of deployment and management of health workforce, continuous financing for operational activities and other related issues that influence the impact of the interventions put in place by the project.

He said the sustainability of the project activities should be kept in mind in designing the package of interventions.

“I believe the CHIPS system is strong and can successfully address the above issues if we enhance the capacity of our frontline cadre and have commitment from the leadership.

I want to appeal to us all to think of the project activities as a part of routine health system activities and also use self-sustaining approach so that the activities can go on when the project ends”.

GNA