An investigation into Ghana’s primary care system: Challenges and solutions

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Ghana has been plagued by cases in the news of patients being turned away at major hospitals in the country due to overcapacity and a lack of beds This study examines role primary care plays in alleviating the pressure faced at secondary and tertiary facilities assessing and identifies challenges and weaknesses inhibiting its function as a gatekeeper. The paper seeks to assess patient perceptions and understanding of the primary care system, while also taking in to account the role of providers and systematic challenges. The study population was located within the Greater Accra East District of Ghana and chosen because of the predominance of primary care facilities and the absence of secondary and tertiary facilities. Data was collected using qualitative techniques such as in-depth interviews and questionnaires and analysed using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The results revealed generally poor perceptions of primary care by respondents which was largely influenced by the limited facilities, equipment and staff available at primary care facilities. Despite this, the results indicated that finances played a less prominent role as a barrier to the utilization of primary care facilities with waiting times and standard of care being the most prominent barriers. Other deficiencies include: (1) the weak referral system (2) dangers of pharmacy practice (3) lack of specialists (4) The study proposes policymakers expand the clinical responsibilities of physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Undergraduate thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2019
Greater Accra Region, healthcare system, primary health care, Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS), Ga East Municipal District, pharmacies, clinics, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)