A link between the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Southampton Teaching Hospital NHS Trust has ensured training (CPD – Continuous Professional Development) sessions to train and retain health officers in the Northern Regions. Health professionals directly benefitted from the training and have translated skills into positive outcomes. An improvement in the health status in the Upper East region especially with the vulnerable women and children has been noted.

Health limitations in the Northern regions of Ghana

Some health officers have refused postings to the three Northern Regions (especially the Upper East and West Regions) in Ghana because of inadequate institutional capacity building. The promotion and retention of health officers are paramount for the improvement of health care provisions in this region.

The Link: Northern Regions and Southampton

In the Upper East Region, the Link has aimed to improve the care for vulnerable women and children by training health officers in specific areas; for example, training on Ultrasound Service has yielded good results. One example is the Ghana team, together with their UK partners, were able to diagnose an abdominal pregnancy (24 weeks). The team monitored the case and the woman has successfully delivered. The baby and the mum are doing well.

Additionally, health officers are now working with the little they have to improve health service. For instance, some hospitals have now re-engineered space to create recovery service. An example is the Regional Hospital. Other hospitals are learning from this example.

According to Mr Dery, the Link coordinator from GHS, accreditation for commencement of Anaesthesiology at Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) and University of Development Studies (UDS) has been approved. The project team at the Ghana Health Service (Upper East Region) has therefore engaged some key stakeholders (TTH and UDS) to train anaesthetics, midwives, etc.

Southampton Teaching Hospital NHS Trust has practically demonstrated commitment by providing clinical equipment to support the delivery of health services.

The future

Ghana Health Service and Southampton have embarked on various fundraising activities to support the project. Dispersion of impact and benefits of the Link was presented by Mr Dery at the Ghanaian national ‘Health Administration and Support Service’ Conference in September 2010. Highlights of link activities and impact are usually published on the Ghana Health Service website.

IHLFS Team, British Council Ghana