The government of Ghana has a vision to provide universal health coverage for its citizens by the year 2030. That means ensuring all people in Ghana have timely access to high quality health services regardless of their ability to pay.
Ghana’s health supply chains are a critical factor in whether the country will be able to meet this ambitious goal. Recognizing that fact, in 2015, Ghana produced a five-year Health Commodity Supply Chain Master Plan. The plan identified challenges in Ghana’s public health supply chain, outlined objectives for the future, and proposed interventions.
While some progress was made between 2015 and 2020, additional challenges remained. So in 2021, the Ministry of Health began working on a new five-year master plan and involved CARISCA in the process.
Initially, CARISCA senior technical advisors John Manso Frimpong and Abdul Samed Muntaka worked exclusively on the private sector component of the plan. After producing that section, they were later added as technical consultants for the entire plan, which includes 11 technical areas in addition to the private sector piece.
The pair suggested multiple ways the government can increase partnerships among global, regional and local private-sector markets. These include:
- outsourcing some supply chain functions to private sector providers;
- acquiring advisory services from private sector firms;
- collaborating with the private sector on health commodities supply planning and replenishment;
- adhering to execution plans in the public-private partnerships, which typically involve a contract between a public authority and a private counterpart who assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project.
“Traditionally, health care provision has been the government’s responsibility,” the section of the plan on private sector engagement reads. “However, with governments’ growing fiscal constraints, coupled with the private sector’s growth in expertise and funding, partnership between the public and private sectors has become imperative in most countries.”
Both Frimpong and Muntaka say they appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the project and derived benefits from their involvement.
“Being intimately involved in this project afforded me the opportunity to use my expertise to foster primary healthcare delivery in Ghana,” says Frimpong, a supply chain lecturer at KNUST and an expert in strategy design, project costing, monitoring and evaluation.
“I hope the master plan will spur private sector investments that improve health commodity availability for the citizens of Ghana.”
Adds Muntaka, a senior lecturer and past chair of KNUST’s supply chain and information systems department: “The engagement afforded us the opportunity to better understand the workings of Ghana’s health system, and I have incorporated that into both my undergraduate and graduate courses.
“This furthers CARISCA’s aim of improving the supply chain curriculum at KNUST.”