Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Dr. Peter Yeboah has said that the CHAG – PharmAccess Med4All digital platform, has offered health providers the avenue to purchase trusted medicines on a platform that directly connects them with a selected group of accredited distributors.
Dr. Peter Yeboah says ‘’The Med4All platform showed us that some facilities had paid much higher prices for medication in the open market. Now the monetary savings from the Med4All platform can be spent more effectively on other essential activities.’’
CHAG is a network of 344 health facilities and health training institutions owned by 34 different Christian church denominations. Although only about 7% of all health facilities in Ghana fall under CHAG, they provide about 30% of healthcare services. Many of the facilities are located in remote, rural, and resource-restricted areas. Consequently, CHAG significantly contributes to the provision of care, especially to the less privileged in the country.
Dr. Yeboah noted that there are a lot of gaps in the healthcare delivery system in Ghana. “There are gaps to fill in terms of accessibility, quality of care and sustainable healthcare financing. But we also see significant progress being made in all areas, encouraging me to look at the future with a sense of optimism.’’
The CHAG Executive Director is pleased that in terms of accessibility, primary health services are now much better accessible’’. Dr. Yeboah refers to the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), through which CHAG played significant roles in the design and implementation.
These Ministry of Health initiatives led to the abolition of user fees at the primary healthcare levels and improved access to healthcare in the public sector. ‘’The interventions have helped to promote equity and increased access to basic essential health services for the poor, needy and underserved populations.’’ He emphasized.
”Apart from better access to care, we also see progress in quality’’, Dr. Yeboah continues. ‘’In terms of quality, CHAG is now using internationally certified standards through the SafeCare Quality Improvement Programme’’. SafeCare has been introduced and implemented by PharmAccess and partners, which empowers health providers to gain relevant insights and improve quality and safety at all facility levels. ‘’For CHAG, adopting SafeCare meant that we could move from perceived quality to evidence-based quality of care”.
When we look at sustainable healthcare financing, more work remains to ensure that facilities become financially viable. Dr. Yeboah: ‘’A lot can be achieved through digitalization so we can improve efficiency. For example, the introduction of the Claim-It App made it easier for health facilities to digitally submit their NHIS reimbursement claims, which saves time and reduces the number of rejected claims’’. The app is owned by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and is used by healthcare facilities in the public and the private sector.
Dr. Yeboah ‘’we moved from perceived quality to evidence-based quality of care’’
Looking at 2022, Dr. Yeboah adds: ‘’we sometimes take it for granted that everyone sees the benefits of digital innovations, but in fact, adopting a digital approach requires a culture change. Thankfully, CHAG sees promising political leadership and a passionate movement towards digitalization in the country, at government agencies, the NHIA and the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA). So, moving forward, CHAG would consolidate the existing innovations and advocate together with PharmAccess and other partners to declare this year as a Digital Year. This would help enable and accelerate progress towards Ghana’s target to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
PharmAccess focuses on the root causes that hamper health care financing and investments towards equitable and quality health care in sub-Saharan Africa. Working as an innovator and catalyst for pragmatic solutions that can be adopted, adapted, and scaled by partners.