The development of the national Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) policy will be completed by the end of the year, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, Minister of Health, has stated.

The national policy, when completed, would give the rather varied application of the CHPS concept meant to make healthcare accessible to all, a standardised and systematic framework for its implementation.

Dr Agyemang-Mensah, giving his keynote address at the National Technical Forum on CHPS held at Sogakope, said there were several written manuals, plans and strategies that were contradictory in many ways in the implementation of the CHPS concept.

?Individual philanthropists and district assemblies applied these and various forms as they see fit. Don?t get me wrong, they all mean well in supporting access to services but with less than clear guidelines,? he said.

He said the community health workers, despite the varied understanding of the CHPS concept have brought healthcare to many communities in very difficult and hard-to-reach places, ?the least we can do for them is to bring some clarity in the way we want them to operate, be rewarded and motivated to give of their best.?

Call to Action

The Health Minister, therefore, called on stakeholders at the meeting to examine some of the conceptual and contradictory questions and find workable solutions where possible.

?By the end of 2015, we should have rolled out based on the new CHPS policy and under the leadership of district chief executive as least two new CHPS programmes per district,? he said.

Dr Agyemang-Mensah also urged them to do some rationalisation and set out clear goals and objectives to be achieved through the CHPS concept.

?An in-depth review of the CHPS programme should be undertaken by the end of 2015 to measure progress and impact of this important presidential initiative,? he said.

Presidential Initiative

Emelia Arthur, Presidential Staffer and chairperson for the event, said the CHPS concept is a presidential strategy to achieve universal health coverage for all Ghanaians.

She said in order to fulfill this, President Mahama had prioritised the health of its citizens by directing Members of Parliament and ministers to use 10 percent of their salaries for healthcare funding.

?CHPS concept is a priority for government especially because it is the basic principles of primary healthcare and universal health coverage,? she said.

Ms Arthur, however, advocated the modification of the CHPS concept to allow more mothers and children in hard-to-reach areas to receive timely healthcare.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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