People for Health (H4P), a project aimed at reducing inequities in the delivery of health services through the promotion of good governance practices of accountability, transparency, equity, and participation, has ended after five years of its implementation.
The project accomplished three inter-related outcomes; increased capacity of civil society to advocate on key issues in the health and HIV sector, mobilised and empowered communities demanding better and equitable service delivery and strengthening civil society organisations to demand for accountability, compliance, and equity in health service delivery.
The USAID-funded project, aimed at promoting equity in the planning and delivery of health services, especially for vulnerable populations, started in 2016.
Operationally, it covered 100 underserved rural and urban communities in 20 districts and seven regions.
The overarching implementation strategy of the project was SEND West Africa’s Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) framework, a social accountability mechanism backed by Penplusbytes’ digital technologies and the Ghana News Agency’s district-based reporters.
Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief of Party, People for Health, speaking at the closing of the project, said throughout the period of implementation, social accountability strategies had been employed by People for Health to empower disadvantaged groups to collectively champion on the strengthening of community health systems while capitalising on volunteerism.
He said the ability of Community-based Health and Planning Services to provide quality primary health care was increased by enhancing the capacity of Community Health Management Committees to advocate and mobilise resources for health infrastructure.
Mr Kamara said the strategic linkages were built between Community-based Health and Planning Services and other service providers, such as community information centres and radio stations to mobilise target groups in hard-to-reach areas.
The project, he said, popularised the Patient’s Charter to mobilise vulnerable groups to demand their health rights and exercise their patient responsibilities at health care facilities.
The Chief of Party noted that people living with HIV, female sex workers, men sleeping with men, and other members of stigmatised groups were included on District Citizens Monitoring Committees to foster solidarity for their health rights among fellow members.
He added that, during the implementation period, budget advocacy was undertaken, which inspired and incentivised Assemblies to invest in improving local health care delivery.
He said through partnerships developed with District Health Management Teams, access to health experts for technical training and education on topics ranging from nutrition to sanitation was guaranteed.
Mr Kamara, also the Country Director for SEND West Africa, said the capacity building for community health structures and local leadership, from district focal persons to father-to-father support groups, was prioritised throughout the project implementation to promote the sustainability of People for Health outcomes.
He indicated that action plans proved to be effective tools for implementing partners to monitor and promote social accountability, determine whether capacity-building issues were understood, and identified when skills were acquired.
He said some 43,487 participants attended 433 sensitisation sessions, increasing community awareness on health rights as well as policies and programmes to claim them.
As part of the strides made, he said a total of 54 policy dialogue sessions attended by over 773 men and women were held in 15 out of the 20 districts, with as many as 646 commitments secured, and 419 representing 66 per cent delivered by stakeholders.
“For example, as many as 7841 very poor men and women were registered unto the NHIS or had their membership cards renewed. Also 20 District Citizens Monitoring Committees participated in 45 training sessions on how to use Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) to advocate,” he said.
The Domeabra Community-Based Health and Planning Services (CHPS), in the Central Gonja District of the Savannah Region was awarded the National Best CHPS in recognition of the contributions made in the attainment of People for Health’s mission to advocate for equitable health service delivery in the district.