Expanding and decentralising haemophilia care
Historically, people with bleeding disorders in Ghana faced huge challenges in receiving diagnosis or care due to lack of laboratories and of specialised healthcare professionals. The Ghana 2 project established a network to improve the care situation across the whole country.
Barriers to receiving care
“Back in 2017, it was very hard for people with haemophilia living outside the capital city, Accra and the second largest city Kumasi, to receive care,” explained Martin Boakye, president of the Ghana Hemophilia Society.
Routes to Accra and Kumasi were not easily accessible, necessitating long, tough and expensive journeys. Furthermore, healthcare professionals out in the regions were not trained in haemophilia care.
Undiagnosed people with haemophilia would present their symptoms in health centres, but diagnosis rates remained low due to lack of diagnosis facilities and of healthcare professionals experienced in this area.
Decentralising care and increasing diagnosis
Change was needed and it came in the form of a two-year outreach project, led by NNHF project partner the Ghana Hemophilia Society and a specialist medical team from Kumasi. It centred on running trainings across the country from 2017 to 2019, with the aim of improving and decentralising haemophilia diagnosis and care.
Training brings results
Over the course of the project, 315 healthcare professionals and 75 laboratory technicians from across Ghana were trained in haemophilia diagnosis and care based on their specialities. This began in Kumasi. Those who had been trained then went on to train colleagues in the regions, to ensure that knowledge acquired would benefit the largest number of people with haemophilia.
A clear outcome of the training was shown by 52 new people with haemophilia being diagnosed, representing a significant increase from 260 to 314 in the number of people on the haemophilia patient registry.
Care closer to home
Since the NNHF Ghana 2 project, people with haemophilia are able to receive care far closer to where they live.
Gilbert Awuitor, person with haemophilia and youth advocate, explained the impact on him personally: “Now I can go to a nearby health facility and be given treatment with no difficulty.”
Empowered haemophilia community
Beyond the training of healthcare professionals, the project enabled the creation of a national network of healthcare professionals and people with haemophilia.
Dialogue was fostered by quarterly patients and parents’ meetings held in a number of cities across Ghana, as well as the creation of a WhatsApp group.
The patient organisation’s capacity was also strengthened, and five new patient organisation chapters have been created across the country – in Kumasi, Koforidua, Tamale, Cape Coast and Ho.