(Wa) – [dropcap]V[/dropcap]ice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said the Government was working to ensure that majority of Ghanaians obtained health services without unwarranted restrictions; be it geographical and financial.
He said taking healthcare to the deprived areas was a key priority of the Government and part of the efforts to change lives and transform Ghana.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur made the statement when he launched the Revised Policy of the Community Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) and inaugurated a CHPS compound at Loho, in the Nadoli Kaleo District of the Upper West Region.
In all, 64 CHPS Compounds were inaugurated and handed over to the various communities at separate ceremonies.
The 64 CHPS Compounds were constructed and equipped with a grant of JP¥ 989,000, 000 ($8.5 million) from the Japanese Government towards improving access to health facilities in the Upper West Region.
It is expected that the Revised CHPS Policy would help guide health programming and investment at the community level.
The country’s major health policies have been defined by the need to expand the health services and to make these services available, especially to people living in deprived communities.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur also stated that Government was committed to removing the inequality in accessing healthcare that existed in the society.
There would, therefore, be a well-trained and motivated workforce at all levels of the health system to ensure quality health delivery.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur announced that the Government was restructuring the CHPS programme to make it an effective first level health care service delivery in Ghana.
He said already several initiatives had been put in place to ensure that the revised policy works.
Over the last five years, he said, the Government had taken steps to increase the number of Community Health Officers from 2,034 to15,000, all of which had been deployed to support the demarcated 6,000 CHPS zones across the country.
Mr Alex Segbefia, the Minister of Health, stated that the launch of the revised policy was a key strategy to ensure that the CHPS programme became successful.
He said the presence of key stakeholders at the programme also showed the priority the Government attached to addressing Maternal and Child Health outcomes, particularly, with the CHPS services.
He said over the past four decades the country’s major health policies had been defined by the need to expand the health services and to make these services available, especially to people living in deprived communities.
Mr Segbefia stated that the Government’s adoption of the Revised Policy had been as result of several reviews of the concept to ensure that the basic objectives were met and to avoid the past failures experienced in the implementation of other programmes.
He said the Ministry of Health had taken an extensive review of the CHPS strategy to help deal with the various challenges identified over the years.
These challenges include the varying interpretations and understanding of the CHPS concept, lack of funds for compound construction and service delivery, poor coordination across the delivery chain, poor community mobilisation and ownership.
He said at present the country had a near universal understanding of what CHPS was about and how it should be implemented because these were captured in the revised policy to ensure that they rolled out the concept.
Mr Segbefia also stated that the reviewed policy was to avoid ambiguities and to maintain a high adherence to standards across the delivery chain.
He said the CHPS Policy covered five general principles, which were the Duty of Care; Minimum Package of Services; Human Resource for CHPS; Infrastructure and Equipment for CHIPS; and Supervision, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, for his part, expressed his excitement about the successful completion of the 64 CHPS compounds and the provision of essential equipment to 75 CHPS compounds.
He said the completion of the projects also rekindled the strong partnership between Japan and Ghana.
He said the launch of the revised CHPS Policy, which was a national strategy, would help accelerate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage and the bridging of the access inequity gap.