The Ghana Health Service, commonly known by its acronym, GHS, is a Ghanaian Public Service body that was established to primarily ensure that all the government’s health services are properly administrated and that all the government policies on healthcare are properly implemented.
There is no doubt that health care is one of the most important sectors that must be taken seriously for every country because a nation mainly made up of sick people can never make reasonable progress. Therefore policies are constantly being made to boost the availability of health care for citizens. In Ghana, the establishment of GHS is a crucial move in the right direction as far as health care is concerned.
A Brief Look At The History of The Service
In the 1990s, the nation of Ghana made strong moves to reform its health sector in order to revitalize the provision of adequate health services to its people. One of the key results of the moves made was the creation of the Ghana Health Service.
The Ghana Health Service was created in 1996 as part of the Health Sector Reform of Ghana. As a Public Service body, the GHS was established under Act 525 of 1996 as required by the 1992 constitution. Since then, the service has continued to work towards ensuring the adequate provision of health care services to the people.
It is noteworthy that the GHS remains within the public sector because it continues to receive public funds, however, the employees under the service are not a part of the civil service. Also, the managers in the GHS are not expected to adhere to all civil service rules and procedures.
Understanding The Objectives of The Ghana Health Service
The Ghana Health Service was created to serve some very important objectives that all boil down to ensuring better health care accessibility for all Ghanaians. Primary health care provided at Ghana regional, district and sub-district levels is primarily given emphasis by the service.
Below are some of those objectives the service was created for:
1. Increasing Accessibility To Health Services
Another objective of the Health Service is to make sure that Ghana’s good people easily have access to health care. The GHS ensures increased access to good quality health services.
2. Implementing National Policies
From time to time, approved national policies are introduced in Ghana to ensure great health delivery. The Health Service’s objective is to ensure that these national policies on health delivery are properly implemented.
3. Managing Health Care Resources
Another objective of the Ghana Health Service is to make sure that all the resources available to provide health services are prudently managed.
The Functions of Ghana Health Service
The Ghana Health Service has been saddled with a number of functions to carry out. These functions are centered around the provision of comprehensive health services at all levels in the country for all Ghanaians to enjoy. Below are some of the functions of the health service:
1. Manage and Administer Health Resources
One key function of the Health Service is to candidly oversee the effective management and administration of the general health resources in Ghana within the service.
2. Develop Strategies
This is another very important function of the GHS. Every now and then, the nation of Ghana sets out national policy goals and objectives to ensure that the average citizen obtains adequate health care. It is the function of the GHS to develop the right strategies that will achieve these national health policies and objectives and bring them to reality.
3. Establish Mechanism for Disease Control
Diseases often break out across the nations of the world and sometimes, desperate measures are needed to ensure that these diseases are checked and dealt with. In Ghana, the GHS is in charge of establishing an effective mechanism for disease surveillance and the prevention and control of those diseases.
4. Promote Healthy Habits
Many times, diseases spread in a country because of the unhealthy practices of the people living in it. Therefore, there is a need to sensitize people on the need for healthy living. The Ghana Health Service is saddled with the responsibility of promoting a healthy mode of living as well as good health habits among the good people of Ghana.
5. Determine Charges for Ghana Health Services
The GHS is also saddled with the responsibility of determining the right charges for the health services in Ghana. The GHS does this with the approval of the nation’s Minister of Health.
Examining The Core Values Of The Ghana Health Service
The Ghana Health Service has a set of core values that it observes. The service has adopted these core values in a strong bid to effectively fulfill the objectives it has been created to meet which is to improve the health services in Ghana. Below are some of these values:
This is a non-negotiable value that the GHS upholds. All staff members of the service are mandated to practice the highest quality of work ethics that they have acquired during training. Their dress code must meet the standard and their behavior towards patients must be with utmost respect and regard.
2. Deep Dedication
The GHS ultimately deals with human lives, which means that many Ghanaians’ lives depend on the kind of policies the service comes up with. This is why dedication to the job is paramount. The GHS is deeply dedicated to the provision of quality health care and the proper handling of patients.
The GHS upholds teamwork as one of its core values. The service understands that the job it has to do is not one that a single person can do. So, its different professionals must come together and work together to achieve its main objectives by brainstorming and sharing ideas.
The Ghana Health Service understands that dishonesty and lack of regard for moral principles will greatly disrupt its journey towards providing the best health care for Ghanaians. This is why integrity is a core value that all staff members must uphold.
The GHS strives towards attaining the highest level of excellence when it comes to carrying out its duties. The service inculcates this value in all of its professionals because the value of excellence is not negotiable.
How The Ghana Health Service is Structured
The Ghana Health Service is under the Ministry of Health. The Health Minister approves certain policies the service makes in the pursuance of the provision of adequate health care for Ghanaians.
The GHS is headed by a Director-General who is appointed by the President of Ghana. The service also has regional directors who help the Director-General in fulfilling the service’s functions. There are several directorates under the GHS including:
- Ashanti Region
- Brong Ahafo Region
- Central Region
- Eastern Region
- Greater Accra Region
- Northern Region
- Upper East
- Upper West
- Volta Region
- Western Region
Each of these directorates is overseen by a regional director who is also appointed by the President of Ghana. It is also noteworthy that the different directorates also have districts under them.
The Difference Between The Ministry Of Health and Ghana Health Service
The Ministry of Health in Ghana and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) are not one and the same thing. There are differences between the two bodies. The GHS primarily administrates the various health services that are provided by the Health Ministry. This means that the Ministry of Health comes up with measures to ensure health care and the GHS administers or implements the measures.
The Ministry of Health is now responsible for just the formulation of policy as well as the monitoring, evaluation, and regulation of the health service delivery in Ghana while the GHS is charged with direct public health service delivery or provision in the nation.