“Within each country, the ADP approach is trying to bring different institutions and different issues together. So in Ghana, we are building capacities on pharmacovigilance, and on access and delivery of medicines, which are all critical areas that need to be addressed.”

Dr. Margaret Gyapong Director of Dodowa Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service

In Ghana, the ADP has promoted policy coherence and alignment between the various national sectors relevant to medicines regulation, disease control programmes and the medicines supply chain. Efforts focus on ongoing policy processes, to fill existing gaps in policy guidance and prioritization of issues related to the introduction and use of new health technologies in the country. Policy coherence and integrated approaches enable coordinated action across sectors, which can ensure that more people receive access to essential health commodities faster.

The ADP supported the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the development of Ghana’s ‘National Medicines Policy 2016–2020’. The policy fills an existing policy gap by setting out updated policy guidance for the governance and regulatory control of the pharmaceutical sector, which will in turn support the introduction of new health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs.

Ghana’s ‘National Health Research Agenda 2015–2019’ was also developed with ADP support. The health research agenda provides a systematic framework and action plan to prioritize efforts and resource allocation for implementation research that can address bottlenecks for the TB, malaria and NTD control programmes. The ADP’s support has also engendered a trained cohort of health researchers and programme implementers who can now lead research activities and raise external funding to investigate key priorities, such as improving the low rates of TB screening among HIV patients in routine monitoring, and addressing the persistent transmission of lymphatic filariasis in certain districts in Ghana.

Strengthening the country’s pharmacovigilance programme is also part of the ADP’s focus in Ghana. Through technical and capacity-building support to the Ghana FDA, the ADP has helped develop and implement an efficient data management system (Individual Case Safety Reports) for the early detection of safety issues, which will ensure the safe and effective introduction of new medicines.

In addition, the ADP has begun work with Ghana’s NTD control programme and the Ghana Health Service to strengthen the preventive chemotherapy supply chain during mass drug administration1 campaigns. This work is critical to increasing access to needed medicines and control of NTDs, as Ghana’s entire population of 25 million people is at risk of at least two of the five major NTDs (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, trachoma).2

  • 1For the prevention and control of NTDs, a WHO-recommended approach is the administration of preventive chemotherapy, which has been successful in reaching large numbers of affected populations. Preventive chemotherapy is a population scale strategy, aimed at preventing transmission or lowering morbidity of a number of NTDs with medicines, either alone or in combination. The delivery of preventive chemotherapy is typically through mass drug administration campaigns, which take place once or twice a year, delivered by community-based health workers and volunteers.
  • 2Ghana Health Service, ‘Master Plan: 2013–2017, Ghana NTD Programme’, Ghana Health Service, Accra, 2013.

Ghana Map

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Select country data

Country profilea
Human Development Index ranking 139
Population total (millions) 27
Gross national income per capita (USD) 3,839
Population living below poverty line (%) 25
Public health expenditure (% of GDP) 2
Life expectancy at birth (years) 62
<5 mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 62
TB epidemiologyb
TB incidence (per 100,000) 160
Deaths due to TB (per 100,000) 56
TB treatment coverage (%) 33
MDR-TB incidence (per 100,000) 6
Malaria epidemiologyc
Cases of malaria (per 100,000) 26,642
Deaths due to malaria (per 100,000) 57
Children aged <5 years with fever who received treatment with any antimalarial (%) (2014) 47
NTDs epidemiologyd
Population at risk of LF / coverage of PC 2,426,930 / 72%
Population at risk of OCH / coverage of PC 3,995,382 / 86%
SAC at risk of SCH / coverage of PC 3,941,457 / 60%
SAC at risk of STH / coverage of PC 6,852,956 / 38%

All data from 2016 unless stated. SAC: school-aged children; PC: preventive chemotherapy; STH: soil-transmitted helminths; LF: lymphatic filariasis; SCH: schistosomiasis; OCH: onchocerciasis.

  • UNDP, ‘International Human Development Indicators’ (website), UNDP, New York. Accessed 15 September 2017.
  • Global Health Observatory, ‘Tuberculosis country profiles’ (website), WHO, Geneva. Accessed on 15 September 2017.
  • Global Health Observatory, ‘Malaria country profiles’ (website), WHO, Geneva. Accessed on 15 September 2017.
  • Global Health Observatory, ‘Neglected Tropical Disease’ (website), WHO, Geneva. Accessed on 15 September 2017.