Ghana is divided into 10 regions (similar to U.S. states) with healthcare implementation led by regional ministries that oversee all hospitals in the region and report to the national Ministry of Health. Currently, MedPLUS Connect is focusing on providing shipments to Ghana’s three northern-most regions, the Upper West Region, Upper East Region, and Northern Region. These regions have higher poverty rates and less accessibility to medical supplies that their southern counterparts.
Our presence in the Upper West Region is strong, and one of my main goals for this trip is to build relationships in the Upper East Region and Northern Region. On Tuesday, I met with the Regional Director of Health Services for the Upper East Region, and worked with him to start developing a request list of supplies and equipment. In the next few months, we plan to send our first “regional” shipment of supplies, which will be divided among the one regional hospital and six district hospitals in the Upper East Region, according to need. Because two new wards have recently been built at one of the district hospitals, sending hospital beds and mattresses will be a priority!
Although this shipment is on a regional scale, building relationships and accountability with individual hospitals and medical directors continues to be an important part of our model—we plan to conduct site visits and follow-up visits at each hospital. The huge advantage of working with regional officials is the resources, oversight, and strong connections to local/national officials that they can provide. A long-term goal is to bring five portable x-ray machines to the Upper East Region, one for each hospital that currently does not have an x-ray.
The Regional Director will work closely with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to ensure that all safety standards are being met at each recipient hospital….again, providing an important service that MedPLUS has neither the knowledge nor resources to provide!