Reproductive Health Education for Adolescents and Young People Project

ARHR supported the 7th UNFPA/Government of Ghana country program from 2018 to 2022. The project, which was implemented in six (6) districts (Ashiedu Keteke, KEEA, Nzema East, South Dayi, Bosome Freho, Jirapa) across six (6) Regions (Greater Accra, Western, Volta, Ashanti, Central, Upper East) in Ghana sought to empower out-of-school adolescent girls through improved access to reproductive health education and responsive reproductive health services.

Over the project’s five-year implementation, ARHR trained 150 Adolescent Health Champions (ADH) across the six implementing districts to exercise leadership and leverage their influence within their respective communities to share critical health information with their peers to enable them to make well-informed SRH choices. Through health fairs and ADH-led peer network meetings, approximately 200,000 adolescent girls, including persons living with disabilities, have been reached with sexual and reproductive health and rights information and life skills to help them make decisions about their SRH. About 34, 000 of these people were referred or had access to adolescent-friendly healthcare facilities across all project implementation communities. As a result, more adolescent girls have been empowered to exercise their agency regarding sexual and reproductive health, and more health professionals have been enabled to provide quality youth-friendly and gender-sensitive SRH services to these adolescent girls.

The Primary Health Care Advocacy Project

The PHC advocacy project engages national level decision makers and stakeholders on the need to use PHC as a medium of achieving Universal Health Care (UHC). The advocacy engages the Government of Ghana and its representatives to develop, adopt and finance a consolidated Essential Health Services Package (EHS) as part of national efforts towards the achievement of UHC in Ghana. This project is being implemented with funding from Population Action International (PAI).

Catalyzing leadership to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health outcomes in West Africa (WNCAW) project

To improve women’s and girls’ access to quality SRH services, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funded project sought to understand and document the experiences and perceptions of women and adolescent girls regarding access, quality, and affordability of sexual and reproductive health services across five (5) African countries—Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. ARHR, as an advocacy and research organization, led the scorecards assessment and multi-stakeholder policy dialogue processes of the project. Key outcomes of these processes included:

Utilization of evidence from score-card assessment by key decision makers to inform policy and practice. Service providers across implementing communities within the five implementing countries used and continue to use the results of the assessment to inform decision-making. For example, in terms of service delivery, facilities that did not have basic equipment like pediatric weighing scales and BP apparatuses have had these provided by the national and district health authorities.

There is also emerging evidence of improvement in provider-client relationships that have contributed to increased uptake of sexual and reproductive health services by women and girls across all five implementing countries.

Bridging Gaps: Innovate For Malaria (B4M) Project

The Bridging Gaps: Innovate for Malaria (B4M) Project commenced from 2017- 2021. It was implemented in four districts (Bodi, Juaboso, Mpohor, and Nzema East) in the Western Region, Ghana with funding from Comic Relief’s ‘Fighting Malaria, Improving Health’ in a partnership with Glaxo Smith and Klein (GSK) and sought to empower communities to demand better services and hold service providers accountable for improved malaria services towards better outcomes.  Ultimately, the project was designed to improve the delivery of malaria within a stronger PHC system. Outcomes included enhanced knowledge by communities of their rights and the government’s responsibilities in malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Over the project period, notable changes occurred in the lives of about 64,800 pregnant women of reproductive age, children under five years, men, and adolescents. Results from an end-line survey showed that 50% of respondents knew that access to health care was a right and should be demanded compared to 20% before the commencement of the project in 2017; an improved provider-client relationship that increased uptake of malaria services by the target group. The end-line survey also noted an increase in the percentage of pregnant women who took medication for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy which increased by 42.91% from 45% in 2017 to 87.91% in 2020 and almost 80% knew the recommended number of times it should be taken as against 3% in 2017.

Integrating Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in National Health Policies, Programmes and Commitments (GESI) Project

The ARHR implemented the GESI project from 2017 to 2020 across three districts— (South Dayi, KEEA, Agona East) in two Regions (Volta and Central) of Ghana. The STAR Ghana-funded initiative aimed to ensure the systematic integration of gender equality and social inclusion into Universal Health Coverage in Ghana. Some major outcomes of the project included:

Recognition of and effective planning for gender and social differentials in UHC-related initiatives at the district and national levels. ARHR  developed a GESI framework to track the impact of these development initiatives, policies, and programs on marginalized and vulnerable groups, aspects of which have since been integrated into the annual and action plans of implementing project districts and municipals— to ensure that activities are GESI compliant. At the national level, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) uses aspects of the framework to develop a Standard Operating Protocol for providing SRH services for PWDs.

Utilization of evidence from the GESI monitoring by non-state and state actors (policy and decision-makers, health providers) to ensure provisions of gender equality and social inclusion in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Community-Based Health Plan and Services (CHPS)—the two key operational strategies for achieving UHC in Ghana.

Enhanced capacity of socially excluded groups to demand accountable health care. In some communities, this resulted in the formation of committees championing GESI issues which translated to concrete actions. For PWDs’ convenience in accessing healthcare, the KEEA municipal, for instance, constructed a ramp at the Elmina Polyclinic.

Universal Access to HealthCare Campaign (UAHCC)

The Ghana Universal Access to HealthCare Campaign (UAHCC) advocated for the government of Ghana to legislate for quality and accessible universal healthcare for all free at the point of use, with identified new funding sources, especially from tax and innovative finance mechanisms by 2030.

The UAHCC was a national advocacy campaign comprising local and international NGOs, led by ARHR as the hosting organization. Supported by Oxfam Ghana, the campaign reached over 500 organizations working on health-related issues across all ten regions of Ghana. The campaign’s main strategies included evidence generation, policy analysis, public events such as civil society mobilization, lobbying, and media engagement.

Mitigating the spread and impact of covid 19 in Ashiedu Keteke (MISAICAK) Project

The MISAICAK project was a response against covid 19 and intended to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 among residents of the Ashiedu Keteke sub-metropolitan assembly. It complemented two of the five objectives outlined by the Government of Ghana to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 in Ghana.

Specifically, the project by the end of September 2020, intensified community education to ensure the prevention and spread of the virus among communities; strengthened and enhanced community knowledge and attitude towards physical distancing; and advocated against fear, discrimination, and stigmatization of individuals and families infected and affected by the virus.

As part of activities towards implementing the project, hand washing, sanitation, and hygiene products were stationed at vantage points in the target community, and sanitary practices were enforced. The French Embassy funded the project.

Adolescent Health Empowerment Project (AHEP) Project

The AHEP project which is being implemented in partnership with the City of Hope will provide adolescent girls, specifically head porters or ‘kayayei’ in Agbogbloshie, with access to reproductive health education and services amid covid 19.

The project will empower the target group through the provision of reproductive health education, sexual and gender based violence prevention information and linkages to services; undertake contraceptive demand generation activities to promote adolescents’ access to reproductive health and services; and strengthen partnerships at national and community level to deliver reproductive health education and services.

Accountability Loop Budget Advocacy (ALBA) Project

The Accountability Loop Budget Advocacy Project (ALBA) was implemented in several African countries including Ghana by the WHO. The project operated in at least 10 deprived districts in Ghana to improve quality care by 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.

The project focused on advocacy to ring-fence Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) budget allocation to MP’s in 10 districts to provide basic EmONC equipment that did not exist in highly utilized health facilities in each of the 10 districts. By that strategy, Ghana’s ALBA team increased participation and reinforced the responsibility of MP’s to address the social needs of their constituents; while increasing social accountability to their constituents.