The Ghana Primary Health Care (PHC) Campaign led by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights held its strategic planning and review meeting on 21st January 2021. The purpose of the meeting was to bring in new and potential partners, share a proposed campaign activity plan and possibly receive diverse feedback that will enrich the work of the campaign and make it successful.
Mandate of the Campaign
The Campaign aims to influence the health sector’s policies and funding towards the improvement of health services, infrastructure and access to all people instead of the uncoordinated and detached disease focused approach. The campaign expects that with a clear focus on improvement in health systems for every one – services and facilities like the CHPs, Health Centers and District Hospitals; closer to where people live will be improved – where no matter which part of the country people live, they can still access a range of quality services at facilities closer to them. The Campaign believes that without this very important precondition, the UHC and SDG goals will be illusory.
The need for a continuous collaboration of members of the Campaign for improved health systems and primary health care in Ghana has never been more important than it is now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was important to utilize the attention the health sector had attracted for the objective of improving health care services for majority of Ghanaians, thus, making available improved facilities and services closer to people, which means increasing the availability of CHPS compounds, health centers and district hospitals, all of which are closer to people in their communities. There was equally the need to advocate for the removal of financial barriers to access to health care and services.
Outcome of the meeting
A key outcome of the meeting was the need to find ways of highlighting the high cost imposed by both public and private facilities for COVID-19 case management and treatment services. The Campaign was urged to utilize evidence which abound in open sources to engage stakeholders to give due consideration to this phenomenon.
The importance of properly highlighting the need for standardization in expected services and facilities at CHPS centers; which currently are the first point of contact for primary health care in Ghana was mentioned.
Further, particular attention was to be paid to the 2021 budgetary allocations to the health sector. It was noted that, in light of the huge demand of COVID-19 on the finances of the country in the previous and current years, it was likely that the social sector will witness budgetary cuts including for non-COVID-19 priorities in the health sector. It was concluded that the campaign should monitor and prioritize non-COVID health sector priorities in its budget analysis and advocacy.
AHRH’s leadership and efforts to expand membership of the campaign as well as expanding coverage of the campaign’s activities to other regions of Ghana was commended by members. The Campaign has planned to convene three PHC stakeholders’ forums in the Northern, Middle and Southern zones of the country.