P4H project closeout ceremony held in koforidua

Chief of Party for the USAID People for Health Project Mr. Siapha Kamara in a group photograph with P4H project awardees
Chief of Party for the USAID People for Health Project Mr. Siapha Kamara in a group photograph with P4H project awardees

The Chief of Party for the USAID People for Health Project
Mr. Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer of SEND WEST AFRICA, has called on GHS and the AIDS Commission to sustain the strides chalked during the implementation of the P4H project in order to increase public education on HIV.

According to him, when they started in 2016 HIV/AIDS communities, those who were positive had their association and they did not want to meet with anybody, they didn’t trust the media, they didn’t trust the district monitoring committee, but now there is trust, there is confidence, there is solidarity among marginalized groups.

In however indicated that, thses has been a spike in HIV among the youth, therefore, the district monitoring committee members should be up to the task to intensify education to make sure people living with HIV/AIDS do not go underground nor be stigmatized.

Mr. Siapha Kamara, was speaking at the P4H project Closeout Ceremony on Thursday 25th November, 2021, at the Eastern Premier Hotel in Koforidua the Eastern Regional Capital.

Mr. Kamara, expressed his pleasure in the fact that, the P4H project implementation structures that are developed at the Regional, District and Community levels, will be able to continue holding service providers accountable, more importantly for mobilizing the community to champion their own health benefits. This he said has been the priority of USAID for the past five years.

He emphasized that, they have build the capacity of civil society enough to be able to advocate, train, educate and sensitize. They have been able to mobilize communities to make demands so that when the district prepares their annual health plan, it will be scrutinized and make sure that their demands are also met.

Madam Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, Senior Programme Officer, SEND GHANA, explained that, the P4H project has been in implemention for five years. At the beginning, they were operating in four Regions, Greater Accra, Eastern, Northern, and the Volta Region.

She noted that, during the implemention, the Volta Region was splitted into two to add Oti, making it five Regions now. “In these Regions, we selected 20 districts where P4H implemention took place. The focus of P4H was on water and sanitation, nutrition, family planning and maternal health, HIV and others,” Madam Nuamah added.

The implementation of the project was led by a consortium of SEND GHANA, Penplusbyte and the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

She continued that, in each district, five communities were selected for activities to be implemented in. “To be able to implement the project successfully but not establishing an office in each of these districts, SEND GHANA, through its participatory, monitoring and evaluation framework partnered both state and non-state institution to lead the implemention in these districts and communities. We partnered with MMDAs of the 20 that we selected.

The GHS and MoH, at the national level, we had the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs), and then on the non-state side, we had NGOs/CSOs (focal organizations) we selected to partner. And then we had varied citizen groups made of persons living with HIV, the key population, mother-mother support groups, PWDs, Religious leaders and then Traditional Authorities, among others. These group of citizens we named the District Citizens Monitoring Committees (DCMCs), comprising 25 members groups in each of the MMDA they worked in.

We formed our relationships, rolls and responsibilities, and we shared it out with MOU, so that each of us as instructions/groups will play our rolls effectively. As we worked, we sensitized, trained, supervised, empowered the focal NGOs, CHMC, WSMT, we equipped them with skills and we gave them information to start their participatory and community spirit so that they would engage their commumities, Authorities, demand their health right and contribute their material time and human resources to improve on their own health benefits.

As we worked, we observed how these groups performed their responsibilities without complaining, in spite of sometimes the situation they found themselves in.”

Base on that, some of the deserving committees were awarded with certificates and citations.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, noted that the success of the P4H project is also one facilitated by transparency and accountability of the various districts. And it clearly shows what feats can be chalked when Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are regarded as development allies.

He therefore commended implementing districts for the close collaboration with the SEND GHANA consortium.

“As the programme draws to an end, I want to use this opportunity to urge key health stakeholders to explore ways of sustaining gains made under the project in a bid to ensure that successes chalked do not come to an abrupt end,” the Eastern Regional Minister said

He underscored the need for collaborations in the areas of education, agriculture, child protection and other essential sectors.

The however pledged his commitment in ensuring that the P4H project is sustained in the Region.

Dr. Arko Akoto-Ampaw, Medical Director at the Eastern Regional Hospital who chaired the event noted that, in the implementation of the project, some successes have been seen in areas of advocacy with committees like the WATSAN. They are seen improve health infrastructure and delivery across the districts that were represented.

Adding that, “we saw some decline in malaria incidences and increase in update on family planning and more importantly, some impact on maternal and child health services
component of the project.”

Dr. Akoto-Ampaw, therefore seized the opportunity to call for more funding to scale up the project to other districts across the country.

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