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Health Policy Plan. 1999 Mar;14(1):59-69.

Reforming health service delivery at district level in Ghana: the perspective of a district medical officer.

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  • 1Ministry of Health, Dangme West District, Ghana.


Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa face the problem of organizing health service delivery in a manner that provides adequate quality and coverage of health care to their populations against a background of economic recession and limited resources. In response to these challenges, different governments, including that of Ghana, have been considering or are in the process of implementing varying degrees of reform in the health sector. This paper examines aspects of health services delivery, and trends in utilization and coverage, using routine data over time in the Dangme West district of the Greater Accra region of Ghana, from the perspective of a district health manager. Specific interventions through which health services delivery and utilization at district level could be improved are suggested. Suggestions include raising awareness among care providers and health managers that increased resource availability is only a success in so far as it leads to improvements in coverage, utilization and quality; and developing indicators of performance which assess and reward use of resources at the local level to improve coverage, utilization and quality. Also needed are more flexibility in Central Government regulations for resource allocation and use; integration of service delivery at district level with more decentralized planning to make services better responsive to local needs; changes in basic and inservice training strategies; and exploration of how the public and private sectors can effectively collaborate to achieve maximum coverage and quality of care within available resources.

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