Mr Isaac Nyampong, the Programme Manager of the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, has called on the government to focus more on social determinants of health to help promote good health among the population.
He said, “One of the key tenets of Primary Health Care (PHC) is addressing the social determinants of health, and we tend to focus more on the curative aspect of health to the detriment of other social determinants.
“Now, we are saying that as part of our advocacy, the government should begin to address the social determinants of health. The social determinants of health are other factors outside health that impact on our health such as education, environment, housing, economic issues; they should all be addressed.”
Mr Nyampong made the call when making a presentation at a Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) forum in Tamale on PHC and Health Systems Improvement Advocacy in the country.
His presentation focused on the overview of PHC in the country and the role of CSOs in promoting/strengthening PHC.
It was organised by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights to provide CSOs, who were drawn from the northern part of the country, with an in-depth briefing on the current state of PHC delivery in the country.
Mr Nyampong raised issues with the country’s excessive focus on curative care to the detriment of preventive care, saying this would only lead to a rise in preventable diseases.
He said health outreach programmes, which promoted preventive care, had reduced because health personnel, who undertook such exercises, were not being reimbursed.
He, therefore, challenged the CSOs to continue to advocate for PHC at all levels to ensure sustained progress in strengthening PHC in the country.
He said “We are building the capacity of CSOs trying to bring on board new CSOs to support our advocacy for strengthened PHC. We are looking at two key things; how policy and financing can drive our PHC agenda so that the country will be able to realise PHC by 2030.”
Hajia Alima Sagito Saeed, Executive Director of Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency, lauded the forum, saying there was a need for increased investment in PHC to protect the population.
She said, “PHC is universal, and we know that a lot of our problems start from the base. So, the forum is just to ensure that we are discussing the realities on the ground, and the reality is that we need more investment at the base where PHC is very fundamental.”
Madam Agnes Gandaa, Coordinator, Northern Ghana Programmes, Integrated Social Development Centre, expressed called on the government to reconsider some of its health sector interventions to free resources for other activities at the PHC level.