Story by Mathias Aboba:

A group picture of participants at DDCF PHIT partners meeting in Ghana, 2013
A group picture of participants at DDCF PHIT partners meeting in Ghana, 2013

Bolgatanga, capital city of the Upper East Region in northern Ghana recently hosted the 2013 Grantees Meeting of US charity?Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) ?Africa Health Initiative (AHI).?

The AHI funds five distinct projects in Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia under a program referred to as Population Health Implementation and Training (PHIT) partnership. The PHIT partnerships work to strengthen health systems in the Sub-Saharan African countries all aimed with a?? common goal of produce significant measurable health improvements in a defined geographic area over a five- to seven-year grant period.

Since 2009, the annual meeting of the PHIT partners has been hosted by each of the five grantees. This year, the event took place from the 14th to the 17th October at the Upper East Region of Ghana.

Welcoming participants to the meeting in Bolgatanga, the Acting Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Mr. Lucio Dery described how Ghana has discovered with the Community-based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) program the best strategy for changing the face of primary health care delivery. He extolled the Upper East Region as the originator of the program and challenged health managers and policy makers to maintain confidence in CHPS and give the policy the needed maxim support.

Mr.? Dery expressed appreciation to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Program under the AHI which he said was behind the rapid scale-up of CHPS and expanded essential services including neonatal resuscitation and emergency referral care among others in three of the deprived? districts in the region,.

During a community durbar addressed by local leaders, Madam Juliana Akugre Ana-ereme, District Director of Health Services for Bongo District, one of the GEHIP?s implementation districts, attributed a zero maternal death case record in the district in the first half of the year to the contributions of the piloted Sustainable Emergency Referral Care initiative co-funded by British charity Comic Relief and the other pack of interventions under the GEHIP program.

In his address to audience at the durbar, the Paramount Chief of the area, Naba Alem-Yarum Baba Salifu, shared similar sentiments of the District Director, noting that the GEHIP intervention has brought about improvements in access and the quality of reproductive and child health care services.

The annual meeting of grantees is a forum that gives opportunity to the various country teams to give up date on progress of their respective projects.? This year while GEHIP, the Ghana project and their Tanzania counterparts highlighted tremendous contributions to improvements in population health through innovations in emergency referral, human resources and rapid scale up of CHPS, their counterparts from Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia shared inspirational stories from investment in management capacity, health facility infrastructure, and quality improvement interventions.

Many of these projects are approaching their last year of implementation? and the presentations by the respective project teams on project activities and preliminary finds showed? that the AHI partnership? is set to? inspire? global public health with rapid results,? evidence based interventions.

Dr Mary Bassett, head of the PHIT partnership believes the inspirations from the partnership could drive health sector performance across the region. Dr Basset said? with the prospects of evidence based interventions being generated, various individuals and institutions involved with the AHI can make a huge impact by continuing? to motivate themselves to? pursue? their passions for changing lives.

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