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Jhpiego wraps up field studies

posted Oct 7, 2010, 7:18 PM by Ghana Medical Volunteers
GNA - The Jubilee Oil Venture's highly anticipated community health outreach project for the coastal districts of the Western Region, has been set in motion. Evaluation of the status of health delivery capacities of health facilities at the district, metropolitan and regional levels have been completed.

A team of community health delivery experts from Jhpiego, an international non-profit health organisation affiliated with John Hopkins University globally acclaimed for its high expertise in the prevention and management of tropical diseases has concluded extensive field assessment and facility evaluation for the six frontline districts, which will be the direct beneficiaries of the Jubilee Venture's community health improvement initiative.

A statement issued by Jubilee Oil Venture in Accra said after three months of consultations with officials of the region, officials of the Ghana Health Service, the Jhpiego team, led by Professor William Brieger, Senior Malaria Specialist, commenced field visits to some 30 private and public health facilities, including the Ghana Health Service (GHS)-operated 'CHPS (Community-based Health Planning and Services) compounds, which health officials in the region believe should be the prime focus of the Jubilee Venture's health programme.

Quality and sustainable community healthcare delivery at the grassroots ranks highest on the partnership's priority list for corporate social responsibility and the partners (Tullow Ghana, Kosmos Energy, Anadarko, GNPC, Sabre Oil and the EO Group) are eager to roll out the programme to coincide with the drawing of Ghana's first oil, expected before the end of the year.

The Jubilee Venture's community health programme will commence in communities identified by the health experts as being the most deprived within the catchment zone, which comprises the Ahanta West, Nzema East, Jomoro, Ellembele, Sekondi Takoradi and the Shama districts. Dr Linda Vanotoo, Regional Director of GHS, told journalists that she is happy that the Jubilee health programme targets health delivery at the community level where large populations are still vulnerable to preventable and manageable diseases like malaria. "Focusing on the community-based CHPS compounds will surely lead to an upgrade of our rural health infrastructure and improve their capacity to diagnose prevalent diseases.

"The programme will also enrich our customer care procedures and generally improve the quality of health service delivery at the micro level," she said.

Dr Vanotoo said although malaria case fatalities in the region appear to have dropped from 2.6 per cent in 2007 to 1.4 per cent in 2009, the disease tops the case registers for every OPD (out-patient department) in each of the region's 325 health facilities. Records at the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Health Directorate indicate that the total number of malaria cases has increased from 106,081 in 2007 to 167,097 in 2009 while bed admissions shot up from 150, 000 in 2008 to 2,190 last year.

Jhpiego is working in close collaboration with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Projects Division of Tullow Ghana Limited, operator of the Jubilee Oil Field, has barely one month to submit a workable project design and implementation document to the Jubilee Partnership. Jhpiego's field studies involved one-on-one interaction with community health workers and the collection of operational data relating to prevalent disease types, case records, laboratory capacity and medication from a mix of five public and private health delivery facilities in each of the six coastal districts, including the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis.

Mr Ken McGhee, Tullow's CSR Projects Manager told journalists after the inspection of CHPS Compounds in Kojokrom and Eshiem both within the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, that the Jubilee health project will focus on developing the delivery capacities of community health facilities within the frontline districts, particularly with regard to disease control and management as well as maternal and child healthcare services.

Metropolitan Health officials in Sekondi disclosed that one of the biggest challenges faced by the community-based 'CHPS Compounds' is the fact that they are mostly unaccredited under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), making them functionally expensive and inaccessible to a large numbers of community dwellers. According to regional health authorities, some eighty per cent of the entire population of the region are now registered with the NHIS and would naturally prefer to travel long distances to Government Hospitals and other NHIS accredited facilities elsewhere, rather than use their own community clinics, which require some direct cash payment - no matter how small - for health services rendered.

"With accreditation now imminent for the various CHPS Compounds, we need to upgrade the facilities and empower the clinics in terms of infrastructure, personnel and medical logistics so they can cope with the expected influx of patients and cases.

"For us, this is what makes the Jubilee partners' intervention so relevant and so timely," said Mr. Joseph Aquaye, Human Resource Manager and Administrator at the Metropolitan Health Directorate. Jhpiego, which has been inaugurated to design and implement the programme has worked in more than 140 countries worldwide and is credited with 35 years experience in empowering frontline health workers by packaging effective, low-cost and hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for some of the world's most vulnerable populations and particularly for women and their families. Jhpiego also commands great respect for its competencies in developing project management strategies which take full account of technical complexities, geographical, cultural, socio-economic and political diversity of each programme it handles.