Protection of the sexual and reproductive health rights of citizens is vital for social, cultural and economic development of a country. Access to basic health care services for men, women, children and adolescents is a huge challenge and this has resulted in countless number of preventable diseases and deaths.
Inadequate number of health care facilities, trained doctors and midwives, the geographical dispersion of access to services and little education surrounding sexual reproductive health are some of the issues Ghana is grappling with. Though Ghana made some progress in reducing maternal and infant mortalities, it failed to achieve the MDG goals 4 and 5.
With the coming into force of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Government, CSOs private businesses, research institutions, development partners and other relevant stakeholders must work together to realise SDG 3 targets. Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights is committed to contributing to the realization of SDG 3 as well as those goals that influence the realities and experiences of health care of mother, children and adolescents.
Activities of the ARHR are focused on the following:
Increasing access to responsive ARH services and information in target communities
- Improving the capacity of target communities to understand and demand responsive, timely and accountable sexual and reproductive health services
- Improving the capacity of Ghanaian NGOs and community-based organizations to deliver rights-based SRH services and information.
Over the past ten years, ARHR has played a lead role in advocating for improved SRHR. Some of our key achievements include:
- Tracking Ghana’s realization of the health MDGs 4, 5 & 6 through projects such as the Cordaid funded ‘Citizens Action and Health’ programme
- Building successful partnerships with influential NGOs such as the Planned Parenthood Association, Marie Stopes International Ghana and IPAS to address reproductive health issues in Ghana in areas including unsafe abortions, family planning and the establishment of youth-friendly health centres across Ghana
- Enabling an environment for SRH issues to be discussed by playing a lead role in the conferences and campaigns, such as the national roundtable on Maternal and Child Health
- Working with key stakeholders in communities such as traditional and religious leaders, women groups, committees and Assembly members
- Engaging Parliamentarians to be ambassadors and champions of SRH issues
- Producing and disseminating a documentary on maternal mortality in Ghana, ‘The lights have gone out – another woman dies giving birth’ highlighting the social dimensions of maternal health and the gaps in the health service delivery system
- Monitoring the use of public funds and resources in the health sectors as well as provisions to benefit the underprivileged under the National Insurance Health Scheme (NHIS)
- Building the capacity of members and other organizations by supporting, implementing, monitoring projects with a rights-based approach to SHR including:
- The Alliance for Reproductive Health Programme (ARHP)
- Citizen’s Action and Health – MDGs Project (CAH-MDGs)
- Mobilising for RH/HIV Integration in Ghana
- Improved Reproductive Health Supplies Integration Project
- Fair Play for Africa
- Universal Access to Health Care Campaign (UAHCC)
- STAR Elections – Promoting Health Rights and Accountability in a Peaceful and Fair Election
- STAR Health – Projecting Citizens’ Voices for Health Accountability
The Evidence for Action Programme also known as Mamaye, a DfID funded maternal and newborn health initiative aimed at improving maternal and newborn survival in six sub-Saharan countries in Africa including Ghana.
Using better evidence for improved advocacy and accountability, the Mamaye Ghana project was implemented by ARHR in collaboration with the School of Public Health, University of Ghana across16 districts in 4 regions of Ghana.
Using social accountability mechanism, ARHR engaged in capacity building on MNH for civil society organizations, communities and traditional structures and worked to improve client-provider relationship for improved MNH outcomes. Working with communities, ARHR generated evidence to generate political commitment, strengthen accountability and improve planning and decision making at sub-national and national levels.
The Mamaye Ghana programme focused on ensuring Quality EmONC through improved service provision and client-based advocacy.
The Ghana Universal Access to HealthCare Campaign (UAHCC) seeks to advocate for the government of Ghana to legislate for quality and accessible universal healthcare for all free at the point of use, with identified new sources of funding especially from tax and innovative finance mechanisms by 2030.
The UAHCC is a national advocacy campaign made up of local and international NGOs and led by ARHR which is the hosting organisation. Supported by Oxfam Ghana, the campaign has a reach of over 500 organizations working on health-related issues and across all ten regions of Ghana. The campaign’s main strategies include evidence generation, policy analysis, public events such as civil society mobilization, lobbying and media engagement.
The Accountability Loop Budget Advocacy Project (ALBA) is implemented in several African countries including Ghana by the WHO. The project operates in at least 10 deprived districts in Ghana with the aim of improving quality of care through ensuring functional basic emergency obstetric care.
Providing functional basic emergency obstetric care forms an important part of Ghana’s attainment of Universal Access to Health Care for all especially vulnerable women, children and adolescents in underserved communities. Ghana’s National Health Insurance (NHIS) Policy is the vehicle for the attainment of universal access to healthcare in Ghana, and Ghana’s Free Maternal Health Care Policy remains an integral part of the NHIS system specifically targeted at women and their newborns.
This project focuses on ring fencing Ghana’s National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) budget allocation to MP’s in 10 districts to provide basic EmONC equipment not available in a highly utilized health facility in each of the 10 districts. By this strategy, Ghana’s ALBA team will increase the participation and reinforce the responsibility of MP’s to address the social needs of their constituents; while increasing social accountability to their constituents.
The Bridging Gaps: Innovate for Malaria (B4M) project which is being funded by Comic Relief seeks to build the capacities of community based organisations (CBOs) and communities on their health rights and responsibilities; increase community knowledge on the national malaria service package, generate evidence of health facilities’ adherence to national guidelines for malaria control and prevention, undertake participatory monitoring of community perspectives and experiences with malaria control and prevention mechanisms and eventually advocate at national and sub-national levels for improved malaria control and prevention services.
The project is being implemented in Bodi, Juaboso, Mpohor and Nzema East districts in the Western Region of Ghana.
Pregnant women and children under 5 years are the primary target beneficiaries of the project and other target groups include older women of reproductive age, young people and male partners of pregnant women.
This project, simply called the CSE Project, is funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and seeks to empower adolescent girls through improved access to comprehensive sexuality education and responsive reproductive health services.
It will enable adolescent girls to be assertive by providing them with sexuality education, sexual and gender based violence prevention information and easy access to sexual reproductive health services.
ARHR is working with local NGOs in the Ashiedu Keteke sub-metro in the Greater Accra Region; Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) Municipal assembly in the Central Region and Nzema East Municipal assembly in the Western Region to target out-of-school females between ages 10-19 years including persons with disabilities.
Activities include sexuality education for these out-of-school female adolescents, documentation of information, education and communication materials on sexuality education for use by these adolescents, strengthening the capacity of selected local NGOs and community facilitators and a sports day for persons with disabilities.
It is expected that more adolescent girls will be enabled to access adolescent friendly health services and also exercise their agency on sexual and reproductive health.