The National Project for improving Community-based Primary Health Care through Community-Based Health Planning and Services Strengthening (CHPS+ Project) has been launched in Accra.

The five-year project (2016-2020) was collaboration between the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) to strengthen the capacity of Ghana health systems in the Upper East Region.

The Project would primarily be implemented by the Upper East Regional Health Directorate of the GHS with financial and administrative support from KOICA, while the Navrongo Health Research Centre would provide research and evaluation support, with additional technical support from external consultant.

The CHPS+ Project is a scale up from the Ghana Essential Health Improvement Project (GEHIP), which was funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and implemented in four most impoverished districts in the Upper East Region from 2010 to 2015.

The CHPS+ Project would be implemented in 120 zones of all the 13 districts of the Region at the cost of nine million dollars aimed at enhancing community engagement and support to the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) including community health volunteers, community health management committees and community health officers/community health nurses.

It is also to improve the quality of maternal, neonatal and child health services at health facilities, strengthen the health system environment by enhancing supervision and governance, improved digitised health information system, and establishing sustainable emergency referral care.

Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Minister of Health, said the result of the GEHIP was a significant reduction in neonatal mortality and improved availability of services at the community level.

He noted that the CHPS had come to stay as the strategic tool for achieving universal health coverage in Ghana and more importantly to improve maternal and child health outcomes.

He said Ghana had made progress in providing access and bridging financial barriers to health care through the implementation of the CHPS concepts as well as the National Health Insurance Scheme.

“Sustainable Development Goal Three tasks all UN member countries to ensure healthy lives and promote the well being for all at all ages. It calls specifically for decreasing maternal and child deaths, as well as other premature deaths.

“Strong health systems are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring good standards of health and equitable health outcomes for all.

“However, despite the huge investments in the health sector over the years now, we are still struggling as a people to deliver high quality health services that can provide prevention, care and treatment when needed and at an affordable cost,” he said.

Mr Agyemang-Manu, therefore, said there was the need for the country to deepen its partnerships with development partners, private sector, civil society organisations, religious and traditional authorities and non-governmental organisations to build effective, responsive, fair and efficient health system to provide accessible services for the growing populations.

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of GHS, said the CHPS+ Project would incorporate some of the successful and proven elements from the GEHIP such as health management information system with simplified register for CHPS and sustainable emergency referral care with the use of modified tricycle (motor king).

Those GEHIP elements, he said, would be scaled up through the rest of the 13 districts.

“The Ministry of Health’s overall objective is a healthy population for wealth creation and the scale up of CHPS implementation is one of the key policy concerns of government to attain the goal of reaching every community with a basic package of essential health services,” Dr Nsiah-Asare said.

Mr Sung Soo Kim, the Korea Ambassador to Ghana, said the project was not only the flagship of KOICA but the first project to be implemented by a government agency and emphasised on the strong relations between the two countries through the CHPS+ Project.

He emphasised the importance of co-operation and harmony between the partners to ensure the success of the project and urged all to put their hands to the wheel to achieve that.

Mr Woochan Chang, the KOICA Country Director, said the project served as a big step to the Government of the Republic of Korea and KOICA as it would open the door for that type of modality to be implemented in many other countries.

“The collaboration between KOICA, the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service had been well established over the years. Indeed, the Health Sector has always been one of the core sectors for KOICA Ghana Country Office,” he added.

He said they had recently concluded a six million dollar Maternal and Child Health Project in three districts of the Volta Region, where KOICA adopted some of its success experiences to the CHPS+ Project.

“Currently, the Ministry and KOICA also collaborate on the construction of the Infectious Disease Treatment Centre in Tamale to improve the country’s preparedness towards the case management of infectious disease prevention.

“With the unwavering commitment from the Ministry of Health, we hope to handover the Treatment Centre in this coming August 2017,” he said.

GNA