Urban poor asked to embrace CHPS to address health concerns

The Ministry of Health is asking urban poor communities to capitalize on Community-based Health and Planning Services to address their health needs.

Facilities provided under the services known as CHPS compounds are often considered rural interventions.

National Coordinator of CHPS, Barnabas Yeboah, says such misconception is a draw-back.

Health officials believe the CHPS system is one of the tools to catapult Ghana to achieve universal health.

Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 8 emphasize universal coverage in health.

Though the CHPS system is widely accepted after successfully implementation in rural areas, many have questioned its viability in urban areas.

About 6, 445 CHIP zones have been demarcated across the country.

Out of the number, 4,007 are actively functioning with the required human and other resource.

Mr. Yeboah says the way out is for urban dwellers to accept the CHPS concept.

He indicates the primary aim is to prevent diseases, adding more chips compounds will be established to improve access to healthcare.

“We are also considering urban CHPS so we look at areas that are deprived in the urban zones. For instance if you take like the Zongo area, slum areas-there are vulnerable groups there. We need to station community health Officers there to help the people plan their health and take responsibility of their health so it’s not out of place even though we are not emphasizing much on the urban CHPS.”

Mr. Yeboah was speaking at a training of trainers workshop by the Millennium Promise Alliance and Ghana Health Services.

Over 80 community health workers from 13 districts of the Ashanti Region are undergoing training in community health and electronic health programmes.

Millennium Promise has, since last year, trained about 700 Community Health Workers and Electronic Health Technical Assistants in the region after it piloted the programme in seven districts of the Ashanti region. The districts are Amansie Central and West, Asokore Mampong and Bosome Freho. Others include Ejura Sekyeredumasi, Sekyere Central and Kumawu districts.

Chief Nat Ebo Nyarko is Country Director of One Million Community Health Workers Campaign (1mCHW).

He says allocation of 240 smatphones and computers to the volunteer trainees will advance electronic health through data collection as they take health and related education to the doorsteps of local people.

“For instance, you go to the field do malaria testing (RDTs) and then once you enter into the data and it enters into the server, we are able to see where malaria is springing up so that we need to target intervention to that place so you do targeted interventions. You don’t go there scouting to see what disease is prevailing in that area,” explains Chief Nat.

Visiting professors of the Duke Global Health Institute from North Carolina, USA were at the workshop to get first hand information on how Millennium Promise Alliance has effectively used to programme to improve lives of Ghanaians.