MPA, Red Cross Sign Pact To Deploy 15,000 Community Health Workers

Millennium Promise Alliance (MPA) and the Ghana Red Cross Society, Monday, entered into a partnership deal to deploy 15,000 Community Health Workers (CHWs) across the country over the next five years.

This nation-wide Community-based holistic health Volunteer outreach program is dubbed 1-Health (One Health) Ghana Campaign. It seeks to deepen primary health care delivery to all, especially, in hard-to-reach Ghanaian communities.

Under this initiative, the capacities of 15,000 frontline volunteers from the Ghana Red Cross Society will be built by MPA following which they will be equipped with smart phones and deployed across the country to deliver door-to-door health care service to the people.

The Secretary General, Ghana Red Cross Society, Mr. Samuel Kofi Addo, appending his signature on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) document at an event held at the offices of the MPA, told journalists that he is thrilled to get the deal through since it will afford them the opportunity to address emergency situations wherever there are vulnerabilities.

“It’s an exciting day for us as Ghana Red Cross Society to partner with the Millennium Promise Alliance to see how we can come together to build synergies to enable us deal with the vulnerable in society whenever there is an emergency situation,” he noted.

One initiative of the Ghana Red Cross Society that is having a major impact on the various communities they are serving, especially, in the Upper East and Northern Regions, is the Mother Club.

Under this program, the Ghana Red Cross Society builds on the capacities of mothers to deal with neonatal, maternal and child health issues in the communities.

The mothers move from house to house to interact with people, especially, pregnant women by advising them to go for antenatal services even after delivery.

They also ensure that pregnant women deliver at the CHPs compounds when they are due for delivery. The most interesting aspect of this initiative is the deployment of tricycle ambulances to take the pregnant women to the CHPs compounds when they are due for delivery.

However, they lack data in all their doings, a situation which, according to Mr. Addo, is affecting decision making.

“So, with this MoU, we are going to build the capacities of the mothers in terms of collecting data to feed those of us at the headquarters to make informed decisions,” he noted.

The Executive Director of MPA, Chief Nat Ebo Nsarko, who signed the MoU on behalf of his organization, said the deal will focus on maternal and child health, health promotion, first aid and disaster response, emphasizing more on timely and reliable data.

“The impact of CHWs can no longer be taken faith, hence, rigorous effectiveness and cost-effectiveness systems are needed to engage them. Another key important component of health care delivery is accurate, timely and reliable data. Such data has been difficult to obtain, especially, at the community level. The partnership presents an opportunity to train, equip, deploy and supervise the current corps of Red Cross Volunteers and link them more strongly to the primary health care system in a sustainable manner. Indeed, from the early years of primary health care, community-based health workers and volunteers have played a key role in satisfying the need and demand for essential health services,” he noted.

Quoting the 2019 Holistic Assessment of Ghana’s Health Sector to support his claim, Mr. Nsarko noted that Community-based intervention has contributed to 33% of Family Planning acceptance rate and 51% EPI coverage.

“There are several other areas of health care delivery where Community-based frontline health workers are instrumental in their achievements. We need to recognize this reality and give the support that is required to further improve our health care delivery keeping in mind the targets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”, he underscored.

However, he bemoaned the failure of the Government of Ghana and its partners to continue with the implementation of the Community Health Workers Program which was successfully rolled out in some districts of the country.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) supported the first phase of Ghana's nationwide Community Health Workers Program with the aim of strengthening the Community-based Health Services (CHPS) System.