Developing human resource for health in Ghana
Accra, Ghana - From 2021 to 2023, a strategic partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Kingdom Government through the Department of Health and Social Care (UK-DHSC) helped to transform Ghana’s health workforce to better contribute to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the health workforce programme.
The initiative enabled over 21 500 healthcare workers, including 10 409 females across the country to benefit from improved capacity to be able to respond to emerging health challenges and help to build a resilient health system towards the attainment of UHC.
“Our partnership with the UK-DHSC on this project is a reflection of our shared belief that qualified health workers are the foundation for the delivery of quality health services,” said the WHO Representative to Ghana, Prof Francis Kasolo during a closeout meeting with partners to mark the end of the programme. “The success of the programme has demonstrated that we can achieve so much more through partnership”.
Speaking on behalf of UK-DHSC, Health Advisor at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Uzo Gilpin commended WHO for mobilizing and coordinating partners from different areas of health for the successful implementation of the programme and expressed the commitment of the Government of UK to continue supporting interventions for the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians.
“The health workforce program has demonstrated WHO’s role in convening multiple partners and agencies towards strengthening the health workforce for better health outcomes,” she added.
The Workforce Programme is particularly significant as it contributed to all of WHO’s triple billion objectives of more people benefitting from universal health coverage without financial hardship; more people better protected from health emergencies; more people enjoying better health and well-being as outlined in the Global Programme of Work (GPW13).
The Programme has built the capacity of senior health managers and other healthcare workers through various components including Strengthening Human Resources for Health Systems, Public Health Surveillance, Emergency Preparedness and Response, including COVID-19 Case management, Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Adolescent and Youth-Friendly Health Services, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health as well as Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Training.
“We are grateful to WHO and UK-DHSC for this health workforce programme that has contributed to developing agile health workers who are driving our health sector agenda,” noted the Director for Human Resources for Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Kwesi Asabir.
Some key achievements of the programme include enhanced capacity for 1028 (53% females) health workers in Point of Care Quality Improvement interventions, which is helping to improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in all 16 regions.
The programme also improved the skills of 394 personnel (132 females) on mental health and psychosocial support, making such support available in schools, health facilities and communities.
In addition to building the capacity of the health workforce, the Programme has also supported the improvement and development of about 19 national frameworks, guidance and tools on workforce management, medical practices and training in the country.
For the health workers, this initiative was critical in empowering them to support quality health service delivery at all levels of care.
“The health workforce programme was critical in equipping us with the skills needed to provide mental health & psychosocial support to survivors of the 2022 Appiatse explosion disaster,” says Dr Ruth Owusu-Antwi, President of the Psychiatric Association of Ghana.
The Workforce Programme was implemented from September 2021 to June 2023 across in two phases, with a combined funding amounting to £3,663,918 from the United Kingdom Government through the Department of Health and Social Care (UK-DHSC).
The continued partnership between WHO and UK-DHSC has demonstrated the potential to put Ghana on the path to building an effective human resource for health towards the attainment of universal health coverage.