By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Over 21,500 Ghanaian healthcare workers across the country have benefited from the health workforce programme.
The health workforce programme is an initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) with a strategic partnership between the United Kingdom Government through the Department of Health and Social Care (UK-DHSC) aimed at improving the capacity of Ghanaian health workers to be able to respond to emerging health challenges and helping to build a resilient health system towards the attainment of UHC.
The program, which was rolled out in 2021, according to the implementers, is a strategic partnership between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Kingdom Government through the Department of Health and Social Care (UK-DHSC) that seeks to help transform Ghana’s health workforce to better contribute to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Speaking at a closed meeting with partners to mark the end of the programme, the WHO Representative to Ghana, Prof. Francis Kasolo, said, “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. 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 mobilising and coordinating partners from different areas of health for the successful implementation of the programme and expressed the commitment of the Government of the UK to continue supporting interventions for the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians.
“The health workforce programme 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 benefiting from universal health coverage without financial hardship, more people better protected from health emergencies, and 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 programe that has contributed to developing agile health workers who are driving our health sector agenda,” noted the Director of 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) in 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.
Meanwhile, the President of the Psychiatric Association of Ghana, Dr. Ruth Owusu-Antwi, said 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.
The Workforce Programme was implemented from September 2021 to June 2023 across the country 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.