As a critical Sector of the economy, the Ministry of Health shall seek to improve the health status of all people living in Ghana, through the development and promotion of proactive policies, provision of universal access to basic health service, and the provision of quality and affordable health services. This will be delivered in a humane, efficient and effective manner by well-trained, friendly, highly motivated, and client-oriented personnel with involvement of all stakeholders.
The Ministry of Health has specific mandate to access and monitor the country's health status, advise central government on health policies and legislation, formulate strategies and design programmes to address health problems of the country, and implement, monitor and evaluate (in collaboration with other related sectors and agencies) all health programmes and activities in the country.
As a policy, the MOH is to maximize the potential health life years of all individuals resident in Ghana by reducing the incidence and prevalence of illness, injury and disability, and the prevention of premature death.
To address the inequalities between and within regions and districts emergency care, diseases eradication, elimination, financing policy and health insurance, chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS and quality of care, the Ministry of Health has identified seven priority areas. These are HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted Diseases, Malaria, Guinea Worm, Tuberculosis, Reproductive and Child Health, Expanded Programme of Immunization, and Emergency care.
Priority Intervention Programmes
The results of priority health intervention programme activities as at June 2002 showed a lot of improvement over the past year 2001 for the same period. The following are the details of achievements for the priority intervention programmes and support services.
1. Expanded Programme on Immunization
The coverage for the Expanded Programme on Immunization as at June 2002 for the various antigens are shown in the table below: the projection is what by the end of the year, the ministry expects to have achieved.
Table. Comparison between EPI coverage for 2001 and 2002 for the same period and Projections for 2002-12-03
Antigen 2001 2002(June) Projection(2002) December
BCG 42.6% 50.0% 100.0%
DPT3 37.5% 37.5% 75.0%
OPV3 37.7% 38.0% 76.0%
MEASLES 40.0% 43.0% 86.0%
PENTA 3 30.0% 60.0%
YELLOW FEVER 32.0% 64.0%
TT2+ 35.0% 70.0%
2. National Tuberculosis Programme
Treatment results show some improvement with TB cure rate improving from 44% to 51.4%. The targeted cure rate is 85%. The annual cure rate for 2001 was 55.0% and case detection was 70%.
3. National AIDS Control Programme
3.1 Guidelines on management of Persons Living With HIV/AIDS
During the first half of the year, the guidelines for the management of persons living with HIV/AIDS were finalized. The two specific documents were:
Guidelines on Anti-Retroviral Therapy
Guidelines on the Management of Opportunistic Infections
These documents have since been used in the training of clinicians.
3.2 Launching of START Programme
As Ghana prepares to provide comprehensive care for persons living with HIV/AIDS there was the need to put in place a mechanism to effectively provide this service. In collaboration with Family Health International (FHI), a pilot project Support Treatment and Anti Retroviral Therapy (START) was launched in March in the Manya Krobo district. The project, which will eventually provide anti-retroviral drugs has begun with provision of Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and community sensitisation towards a smooth take off of drug therapy. Lessons learnt from this will be applied to other parts of the country.
3.3 Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV
In the course of the first half of 2002, mothers who had tested positive for HIV received drug treatment during labour and the same drug given to their babies after birth. Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company, has offered to provide drugs for the programme. As at the close of May 49, mother baby pairs had received treatment. The programme is to be extended to ten other sites during the second half of the year.
4. Global Fund For AIDS, TB and Malaria
A proposal was submitted to the Global Fund secretariat in March for funding to support HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. The fund sent a formal communication approving funds for HIV/AIDS to the tune of US$15 million over a 5-year period. The initial amount for the first phase covering 18 months will be approximately US$1.4 million. Local fiduciary arrangements have been communicated to the fund secretariat.
5. Guinea Worm Eradication Programme
The Guinea Worm Eradication Programme has been experiencing mixed fortunes over the years. Between January and June 2002, a total of 3076 cases have been reported as against 3239 for the same period in 2001.
The major activities/interventions carried out over the period under review were:
House to house surveillance for guinea worm cases by village volunteers;
Case management, including occlusive bandaging and worm extraction;
Filter Distribution and /or replacement:
Abate application to treatable water sources:
Training of Volunteers and health workers (Case management, filter use)
6. Reproductive and Child Health
6.1 School Health
During the first half of the year, out of a total number of 29,693 schools with a student population of 2,533.147, twenty-tow percent (22%) of children were examined.
There is the need to strengthen coordination between GES and the MOH and to reactivate School Health Management Teams that are inactive.
6.2 Integrated Management of Childhood Illness
A lot of awareness has been created on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) activities. Almost all the regions are implementing some IMCI activities even though most of them have not been trained. A new road to health cards containing more IMCI records was introduced.
6.3 Family Planning
Family planning activities focused on IEC activities, micro planning and steps were taken to ensure availability of commodities. Major challenges still remain particularly with respect to refusal of male clients to be registered and ineffective counselling due to heavy workload.
The FP Acceptor rate ranged between 6.8% and 20.0% for the period with Upper West and Brong Ahafo recording the highest of 20.0% and Ahsanti recording the lowest of 6.8%.
6.4 Safe Motherhood
Some improvement was recorded in the coverage of safe motherhood activities. Antenatal clinics showed an improvement from 4.82% in the first half of 2001 to 55.5% in the first half of 2002. The average visits recorded was 2.6. Supervised deliveries also increased from 24.6% to 27.8% for the same period. Postnatal care similarly increased from 26.1% to 29.5%.
Training of practicing midwives and TBAs in clinical skills and IEC was conducted during the period. In-service training on the use of pantographs and training of health providers in lactation management was undertaken.
Retention of Trained Health Personnel
The Ghana Collage of Physicians and Surgeon Bill has been passed by Parliament. It is yet to receive President assent.
The Minister has set-up a Vehicle Revolving Fund for Health Workers'. Currently, an amount of US$5,000,000.00 has been made available from GOG and Donor sources for setting up the Fund.
The second will operate on the normal track attracting a 20% deduction from net salary. This is to attract health personnel to the rural and deprived areas of the country. The Ministry has already ordered 63 saloon cars for the 2002 for this. The arrangement is such that the vehicles would be handed over to the District Assemblies who would then sign a contract with persons who offer to work in those selected deprived districts.