Background for Danida's Support to the Health Sector
The Danish support to the Ghanaian health sector dates back to the mid-90s. The support has from the onset focused on primary health care interventions aimed at the poor and most vulnerable people. The overall aim of the Danish support to the Ghanaian health sector is to contribute to poverty reduction and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The programme is aligned to Ghana’s poverty reduction strategy, which emphasizes the health sector as essential to socio-economic development by providing affordable quality primary health care to the Ghanaian population.
The health sector has experienced significant progress in several areas over the last decades. The positive outcomes include improved tuberculosis cure rates, an increasing number of trained health care workers, virtual eradication of guinea worm cases, and an increase in supervised birth deliveries. There has also been a positive development on meeting the MDGs with a reduction in child mortality (MDG 4), maternal mortality (MDG 5), and communicable diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS (MDG 6). However, challenges still remain in these areas and especially maternal mortality is unacceptably high. Maternal and child health have been main priorities in recent years, but further efforts to continue strengthening family planning and safe management of unwanted pregnancies are crucial. A new challenge is the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.
Danida's Support to the Health Sector (HSPS V, 2012-2016)
Danida’s support to the health sector has entered its fifth and final phase. The support continues to focus on pro-poor primary quality health care, achieving health related gains in accordance with the MDGs, and strengthening the health service at the district and sub-district levels (also in light of the upcoming decentralisation). The Health Sector Programme Support Phase V has a budget of DKK 400 million over five years. The support is in line with the National Health Policy and the Health Sector Medium Term Development Plan (2010-2013 + 2014-2017) and builds on previous experiences and achievements.
Danida’s HSPS V has two components: Firstly, it supports the Ministry of Health through support to Ghana's MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) focusing on accelerating efforts on maternal health. The Ministry - together with partners - aims at bridging the equity gap in access to health care, enhancing the effectiveness of the health system, improving access to quality health care, and reducing maternal deaths.
Secondly, the programme seeks to promote the health needs of the poor and vulnerable across the country through assisting the institutional development of the private not-for-profit sector. This is sought by providing core funding to the secretariat of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) to implement its Strategic Plan and Programme of Work (2012-2016). CHAG provides around 30-40% of health services in Ghana especially in rural areas with substantially poor and marginalised populations, and is therefore an important actor in ensuring access to quality health care to all people living in Ghana.
To support sustainability and capacity development in the health sector, four long term Technical Advisors have been employed to the Ministry of Health, the Christian Health Association of Ghana, and the National Health Insurance Authority. In addition, a short-term advisor has been providing the Ministry of Health with institutional and organisational capacity-building.
Central issues in the policy dialogue with the authorities will continue to focus on poor people’s access to quality health care, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, aid effectiveness, and the Post-MDGs. As a new issue, the upcoming decentralisation of the health sector (along with other sectors), will also be in focus.
The Health Sector Programme Support is currently in its final phase, and the Danida support to Ghana’s health sector will be phased out towards 2016.