The One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign of Millennium Promise and its partners, Ashanti regional health directorate of Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), have hit their target of training 1,800 Community Health Workers (CHWs) to deliver quality health care services at the door steps of the people living in rural communities in Ghana.
This follows their entry into thirteen new districts in the Ashanti Region in 2017, bringing the number of districts implementing the CHW project to 20 and hitting the target of 1,800 CHWs receiving the full package of CHW and eHealth training over a two-year period. The project was undertaken with funding support from GSK and British Telecom.
The project trained community health workers and equipped them with ehealth tools such as smart phones and tablets to support the provision of quality primary health care services within the Community Health-based Planning and Services (CHPS) Strategy.
CHPS is a Ghana Health Service primary health care strategy where Community Health Officers are engaged to live in compounds provided by the community or the Assembly to deliver basic health care to the door-steps of the people, while also making prompt referrals when necessary.
The focus of this innovation with CHWs and eHealth is to strengthen the home visitation component of the CHPS strategy. The trained CHWs visit households on regular basis for health promotion and education on environmental sanitation, immunization, family planning, ante-natal care, nutrition among others. They actively search for disease conditions such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhea, and with the aid of smart phones, refer them to health facilities. The CHWs also trace defaulters and provide adherence support to people on treatment.
The 1mCHW campaign is a global campaign launched in 2013 at the World Economic Forum and endorsed by the African Union the same year. The mission of the Campaign is to accelerate the attainment of universal health coverage in rural sub-Saharan Africa by supporting governments and international partners, UN agencies, and national stakeholders dedicated to community health worker scale-up in the context of health systems strengthening.
The Government of Ghana worked with the 1mCHW Campaign to recruit, train and deploy 20,000 CHWs and 1,000 eHealth Technical Assistants (eTAs) across all the 216 districts of the country. Seven districts in Ashanti region were selected as the national demonstration site to establish the scientific basis for the efficiency and effectiveness of this incentivised, professionalised eHealth-enabled CHW program in strengthening Ghana’s primary healthcare system and improving access to healthcare.
The Campaign, in collaboration with the Research and Development Division of the Ghana Health Service (RDD-GHS) and the School of Public Health of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has completed baseline data collection in the demonstration site.
In 2016, 700 CHWs and 28 eTAs were recruited and trained to work in the seven demonstration districts in Ashanti region, thus: Sekyere Kumawu, Bosome Freho, Amansie West, Amansie Central, Sekyere Central, Ejura Sekyeredumase and Asokore Mampong districts. Additionally, 267 CHOs were trained and equipped to effectively supervise the CHWs at the CHPS zone level.
Among the beneficiary districts in the just ended training are Ahafo Ano South, Atwima Kwanwoma, Afigya Kwabre, Offinso North, Sekyere South, Atwima Mponua and Sekyere Afram Plains.
The rest are Asante Akim North, Ahafo Ano North, Bosomtwe, Asante Akim South, Adansi South and Obuasi Municipal.
The CHWs were taken through modules such as Working with Communities, Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Maternal, Newborn and Child health.
The personnel were also taken through integrated community management of malaria and diarrhoea, Health of the Elderly, eHealth and Telemedicine with the facilitators drawn from the Ghana Health Service headquarters, region, and districts, as well as the 1mCHW Campaign of Millennium Promise.
The training was held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).