The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3182.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - 1:06 PM

Abstract #43582

Utilization of Evidence from Experimental Research to Guide Sector-Wide Health Care Reform In Ghana

Sam Adjei, MD, MPH1, James Phillips, PhD2, and Tanya C. Jones, MPA2. (1) Deputy Director General, Ghana Health Service, P.O. Box M44, Accra, Ghana, 233-21-226739,, (2) Policy Research Division, Population Council, 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York, NY 10017

Health plans are often proposed and promulgated without guidance from field research on what works and what does not. In resource constrained sub-Saharan Africa, this approach can lead to overly centralized programs, unrealistic goals, and unworkable operational plans. Ghana is an exception to this generalization. “Sector-wide Planning” and health care reform in Ghana has been guided by participatory learning at the community level, experimental research at the district level, and national utilization of research findings to inform a program of health system reform. Known as the “Community-based Health Planning and Services” (CHPS) Initiative, the program aims to transform health care at the periphery from an inefficient facilities based program to a community based health care system with referral services at the sub-district and District Hospital level. Once confined to the Navrongo Project experimental areas of Kassena-Nankana District, CHPS now operates in 66 of the 110 Districts in Ghana. This paper reviews the role of national plans and policies that have guided the rapid transition in health care in Ghana, the role of service innovations developed by the Navrongo Project in informing community health systems design, and the CHPS paradigm for health care reform. The success of the Ghana health reform model merits review for possible dissemination to other settings in Africa where resource constraints and bureaucratic obstacles can impede the utilization of evidence for improving primary health care services.

Learning Objectives:

  • Step 1