THE JAPANESE International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for continuous support of health interventions in the north.
The agreement, which marks the beginning of the second phase of JICA’s Technical Cooperation Project, would within five years expand from the Upper West, to cover the Northern and Upper East Regions aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) Policy, focusing on the life-course approach in these regions.
It would address issues involving Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) and infectious diseases, as well as new and emerging health concerns such as non-communicable diseases, nutrition and ageing, which account for about 40% of the causes of death.
JICA’s Chief Representative in Ghana, Mr Koji Makino, at the signing ceremony in Accra, said JICA had over the past 10 years supported the implementation of the CHPS Policy in the Upper West Region, where its operation had faced serious challenges.
The current move, he said, was in accordance with the global agenda of health promotion and the pledge made by Japan at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in Tokyo to support efforts of “attaining Universal Health Care with strong health systems and better preparedness for public health emergencies.”
High level political commitment
Mr. Koji said the project had been formulated to support Ghana in its high level political commitment which led to the country being selected as a model for the attainment of the Universal Health Care (UHC) at another Summit held in August 2016 in Kenya.
He said the GHS, through the MoH, requested JICA’s support for the project because the country wanted to be one of the first African countries to attain the UHC goals on time and so had prioritised the implementation of CHPS as a national policy and would continue to explore possible resources to achieve these objectives.
Mr Koji said the idea was to address these health issues through the life-course approach which would be introduced into the package of primary health care at CHPS level.
The project would focus on strengthening community health activities, capacity of community health management committees and volunteers and also strengthen the collaboration between local government and the health directorates for the promotion of CHPS Policy under the decentralisation of the health sector.
Support for Ghana’s effort
He said JICA would continue to support Ghana’s efforts for the attainment of UHC comprehensively, not only through its TC project, but would also depend on the support of policy advisors for the development of an integrated Maternal and Child Health Handbook.
It would also support a CHPS business plan which would aid resource mobilisation and support the sector through financial assistance for implementation of CHPS Policy in Ghana.
The Minister of Health, Mr. Alex Segbefia, said the CHPS project was the backbone of the country’s health care, adding that its expansion would help in the attainment of its health indicators in MNCH.
He thanked JICA for the investment made so far in the area of technical and infrastructural development into the country’s health care system and expressed the hope that the lessons learnt in the implementation of the previous project would be applied for better outcomes.
The Director General of the GHS, Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyirah, said through the JICA support the country now has more than 4700 CHPS compounds and expressed appreciation to the people of Japan for supporting the country’s health system.