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Darlene: Ghana Final Paper

Introduction

Ghana is one of “the developing nations in Africa” (Larson, 2014, p. 3). Larson (2014) indicates that “Ghana’s infant mortality rate has reduced significantly within the past two decades” (p. 16). However, statistics show that the number of children dying before the age of 5 is still quite high. The “country’s infant mortality rate for under-five children is 35 out of every 1000 births” (Larson, 2014, p. 34). The Ghanaian government uses various health interventions to reduce the number of deaths. It is agreeable that new practices and health incentives are needed in order to support the health demands of many citizens. A proper analysis of this country will present powerful recommendations for effective healthcare delivery. The targeted country is Ghana because it has several gaps in its healthcare system. A proper strategy will ensure the nation focuses on the best health priorities.

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Country Background

Location/Geography

Ghana “is found on the Gulf of Guinea” (Larson, 2014, p. 3). The country is very close to the Equator. The country experiences a warm equatorial climate. It has an area of 92,000 sq. miles. The country “experiences a dry and a wet season” (Levy & Wong, 2009, p. 25). The country’s tropical climate makes it reliable for agriculture. Ghana has several rivers and lakes. The Volta basin has several tributaries, rivers, and basins.

Population

The latest census indicated that Ghana had 25 million citizens. The population density of Ghana stands at 78 citizens per square kilometer. Many people in the country live in urban regions such as Accra and Kumasi. More people occupy the country’s coastal region. The country has many ethnic groups. The biggest tribe is called Akan. Over 70 percent of the country’s citizens are Christians. The remaining 30 percent is “comprised of traditional believers and Muslims” (Larson, 2014, p. 23). The official language in Ghana is English.

Government

Analysts categorize Ghana as a politically-stable country. The country is described as a constitutional democracy. The “three branches of government include the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive” (Levy & Wong, 2009, p. 48). The chief of state oversees various activities in the country. Ghana’s “legislative branch is comprised of a unicameral parliament” (Levy & Wong, 2009, p. 48). The country has ten administrative regions.

Economy

Ghana has numerous resources that make it one of the strongest economies in the African continent. The country boasts of numerous natural resources such as “rubber, petroleum, limestone, hydropower, bauxite, and gold” (Levy & Wong, 2009, p. 63). The country also depends on technical support from the developed world. Ghana’s agricultural sector produces various commodities such as peanuts, rice, and cocoa (Levy & Wong, 2009). The “major industries include lumber, food processing, mining, and fishing” (Levy & Wong, 2009, p. 72). The country has initiated a plan dubbed “Ghana Vision 2020”. The purpose of this mission is to strengthen the country’s economy.

State of Health

Many wealthy communities in Ghana are affected by different chronic diseases. The disadvantaged communities are affected by infectious diseases. Urban poverty is “one of the leading causes of diseases such as HIV/Aids, malnutrition, cholera, and dysentery” (Mensah, Oppong, & Schmidt, 2009, p. 4). The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that 2.6 percent of the total deaths in Ghana are caused by road accidents. The major killer diseases in Ghana include stroke, diarrhea, HIV/Aids, pneumonia, lung disease, malaria, and tuberculosis (Mensah et al., 2009). Insecurity also causes many deaths in different urban regions.

Culture

The Ghanaian people have unique cultural practices such as dances, festivals, and initiations. Every person in the society is expected to behave in a specific manner. Traditional doctors and herbalists are also common in this country. Traditional medicine is embraced by many people because it lacks chemicals. The use of “western medicines and traditional health approaches is a common practice in Ghana” (Mensah et al., 2009, p. 4).

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Health System and Delivery

In 1996, the government implemented new practices in an attempt to reform the country’s health sector. This effort led to the establishment of the Ghana Health Service (GHS). The goals of the GHS are monitored by the Ministry of Health (MoH). The role of the GHS is to administrate various health policies and services. This practice seeks to improve the quality of healthcare delivered to different citizens (Saeed, Abdul-Aziz, & Zhai, 2013). This healthcare system has made it easier for the government to deliver effective services to different Ghanaian citizens.

Government Health-Related Agencies

Ghana has several government health-related agencies. Such agencies work hard in order to improve the quality of healthcare (Mensah et al., 2009). The Ministry of Health has been responsible for the nature and quality of health services availed to every community. The role of this ministry is to provide the best public health support. It also manages the country’s healthcare system by building the best hospitals. It also monitors the country’s Medical Education System (MES). This function is aimed at improving the quality of healthcare in the nation (Mensah et al., 2009).

The ministry has several agencies aimed at promoting the best health practices. The first one is the Ghana Health Service (GHS). This agency implements various policies and health services in the country. The function of the Ghana Medical and Dental Council (GMDC) is to monitor the training of dentists in the country. The Ghana Pharmacy Council (GPC) secures “public interest and needs in pharmaceutical practice” (Larson, 2014, p. 65). The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives (GRNM) is an agency that promotes the interests of different practitioners in the country. These health-related agencies promote powerful practices that can support the health needs of many citizens.

Healthcare Personnel

The “number of physicians in a given nation will determine the quality of healthcare availed to its citizens” (Larson, 2014, p. 63). Ghana is presently facing a shortage of healthcare professionals. The growing population requires more doctors and caregivers. The number of doctors in 2014 was estimated to be 2,500 (Larson, 2014). This number increases by less than 0.25 percent every year. Many physicians have been quitting their jobs in search for better opportunities. One doctor in the country is expected to serve over 10,000 citizens. The country has a small number of nurses (Juhe-Appiah et al., 2010). One nurse is supposed to address the health needs of 900 people. The country’s nurse population stands at 21,000. Every underserved community experiences a major shortage of health practitioners.

Nursing Education System and Accrediting Organizations

The country does not have a specific Nursing Education and Accrediting Organization (NEAO). However, the MoH monitors and regulates the quality of education delivered to different students in the nursing practice. The ministry builds the country’s nursing and medical education system. The GMDC regulates the training and practice of dentists in the country (Larson, 2014). The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana monitors the training of different caregivers. The NMCG is also monitored by the MoH.

Nursing Associations

The main role of a nursing association is to support the needs of different practitioners (Larson, 2014). Ghana has several nursing associations that promote the rights, practices, and goals of different practitioners. The first nursing association is called Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives (GRNM). This agency promotes the interests of different caregivers, nurses, and practitioners in Ghana. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana also promotes similar practices (Levy & Wong, 2009).

Health Priorities in Ghana

Many Ghanaians do not have access to quality healthcare. This situation encourages the government to focus on the best strategies and practices in order to address the health needs of different underserved populations. Healthcare planners in the country focus on various health problems affecting different citizens. The first problem “arises from various diarrheal diseases” (Saeed et al., 2013, p. 18). The Ministry of Health (MoH) undertakes various practices in order to control most of these tropical diseases. The other problematic diseases include tuberculosis and malaria. The MoH uses powerful campaigns and strategies to prevent the spread of these diseases. The government has undertaken new efforts to curb the spread of HIV/Aids. The government “uses a generalized strategy to improve child health” (Levy & Wong, 2009, p. 102). The Ghanaian government is constructing more health facilities in order to improve the quality of health care.

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The country is also focusing on the targeted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The government “is using its resources to improve maternal health and reduce poverty in the country” (Larson, 2014, p. 108). These approaches will eventually support the changing health needs of many citizens. However, the issue of healthcare is not taken seriously in this African nation. Scientists have encouraged the Ghanaian government to focus on the best health strategies. The strategy will support the changing health expectations of many underserved populations. The government is also undertaking various initiatives in order to deal with Ebola. This disease has claimed the lives of many unsuspecting citizens in West Africa.

Nursing Implications

Nurses and caregivers “play a significant role towards transforming the quality of healthcare” (Saeed et al., 2013, p. 14). Nursing professionals in Ghana should use powerful practices in order to support the health expectations of the country’s population. The targeted nurses should be aware of the country’s health goals. Such nurses should also acquire new competencies that can support the health needs of many citizens. Nurses should “also embrace the concept of life-long learning in order to acquire evidence-based skills” (Saeed et al., 2013, p. 14). Such skills will encourage them to offer culturally-competent healthcare to their patients.

Individuals in this profession should encourage more students to become nurses and physicians. This effort is critical towards addressing the nurse shortage experienced in Ghana. The individuals should also collaborate with different underserved populations. This practice will play a significant role towards supporting the health demands of such communities. They should also be part of every policymaking process. The practice will produce the best policies that can fulfill the health demands of many citizens in the country (Mensah et al., 2009). In conclusion, nurses and physicians should collaborate in order to support the country’s health priorities.

References

Juhe-Appiah, C., Baltussen, R., Acquah, C., Aikins, M., Bosu, W.,…Adjei, S. (2010). Balancing Equity and Efficiency in Health Priorities in Ghana: The Use of Multi-criteria Decision Analysis. Value in Health, 11(7), 1081-1087.

Larson, L. (2014). Ghana. New York, NY: Lerner Publishing Group.

Levy, P., & Wong, W. (2009). Ghana. New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Mensah, J., Oppong, J., & Schmidt, C. (2009). Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme in the Context of the Health MDGs. Web.

Saeed, B., Abdul-Aziz, A., & Zhai, X. (2013). Assessing the Influential Factors on the Use of Healthcare: Evidence from Ghana. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4(1), 12-20.

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