The United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new, five-year $29 million partnership with the Ghana Health Service to support the widespread adoption of life-saving health behaviors across Ghana.
“USAID’s new flagship social and behavior change activity, is a culmination of decades of partnership and engagement with the Ghana Health Service. This five-year award will support the GHS’s Health Promotion Division, Regional Directorates in northern Ghana, civil society, and the private sector to increase and sustain the adoption of healthy behaviors and practices that improve health outcomes,” noted Dr. Balsara at the event.
This partnership will focus on women of reproductive age, newborns, and children under five years old to save lives through common practices such as sleeping under a treated bed net, delivering babies at health facilities, encouraging breastfeeding, and adoption of family planning. USAID Ghana Health, Population, and Nutrition Team Lead Dr. Zohra Balsara joined the Ghana Health Service Director General Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye at the launch event on April 5, 2022.
USAID and the Ministry of Health at the ceremony
The USAID Accelerating Social and Behavior Change (ASBC) project will support the Ghana Health Service Health Promotion Division (GHS/HPD) in using tested mass media and community engagement tools to accelerate the wide scale adoption of key life-saving health behaviors. The project targets women of reproductive age, newborns, youth and children under five. Messaging will encourage timely use of health services and products such as bed nets. The project will work nationally with additional focus on northern Ghana.
Ghana has seen significant progress in health indicators over recent decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized some of the sector’s gains. While behavior change takes time, it is the foundation of positive health outcomes. “Promoting healthy behaviors and demand for health services is an essential tool in the fight to combat infectious diseases and improve the lives of millions. From the simple act of washing hands, to sleeping under an insecticide treated bed net, delivering a baby at a health facility, encouraging exclusive breastfeeding and utilizing modern family planning methods; all these actions require focused behavior change to make an impact on health outcomes” Dr. Balsara added.
The project will be implemented under the leadership and direction of the GHS/HPD and northern regional health directorates. The USAID ASBC project team will work with a consortium of Ghanaian organizations with a presence in northern Ghana.