Factors influencing the implementation of the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly initiative in Ghana.
ABSTRACT: Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) is an initiative designed to help countries assess their readiness to scale-up breastfeeding programs and develop key recommendations to strengthen their breastfeeding environment. In 2016, Ghana was one of two countries to first pilot BBF. In applying BBF, a committee of 15 Ghanaian nutrition, health, and breastfeeding experts implemented the BBF toolbox over 8 months. Following implementation, semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 committee members (CMs) to (a) identify facilitators and barriers to implement BBF and (b) determine factors needed to strengthen the breastfeeding environment in Ghana. Using a grounded theory approach, five domains were identified. First, a dynamic committee of key stakeholders drove the implementation of BBF. Second, CMs faced some logistical and methodological challenges, including difficulty accessing data and the need for strong in-country technical support for adhering to the BBF process. Third, CMs felt well positioned to facilitate and lead the dissemination and implementation of recommendations. Fourth, accountability would be essential to properly translate recommendations. Fifth, to move recommendations to action, advocacy would be a required first step, and BBF was proposed to facilitate this step. BBF provided an in-depth analysis of Ghana's current breastfeeding environment to help Ghana strengthen its breastfeeding governance, policies, and programs while informing CMs' government and non-governmental organizations' breastfeeding efforts.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Ghana has achieved significant progress in breastfeeding practices in the past two decades. Further progress is, however, limited by insufficient government funding and declining donor support for breastfeeding programs. The current study pretested feasibility of the <i>Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) toolbox</i> in Ghana, to assess the existing enabling environment and gaps for scaling-up effective actions.<h4>Methods</h4>Between June 2016 and April 2017, a 15-person expert country committee drawn from government and non-government agencies was established to implement the BBF toolbox. The committee used the BBF index (BBFI), comprising of 54 benchmarks and eight gears of the Breastfeeding Gear Model (advocacy; political will; legislation and policy; funding and resources; training and program delivery; promotion; research and evaluation; and coordination, goals and monitoring). Available evidence (document reviews, and key informant interviews) was used to arrive at consensus-scoring of benchmarks. Benchmark scores ranged between 0 (no progress) and 3 (major progress). Scores for each gear were averaged to estimate the Gear Total Score (GTS), ranging from 0 (least) to 3.0 (strong). GTS's were aggregated as a weighted average to estimate the BBFI which ranged from 0 (weak) to 3.0 (outstanding). Gaps in policy and program implementation and recommendations were proposed for decision-making.<h4>Results</h4>The BBFI score was 2.0, indicating a moderate scaling-up environment for breastfeeding in Ghana. Four gears recorded strong gear strength: advocacy (2.3); political will (2.3); legislation and policy (2.3); and coordination, goals and monitoring (2.7). The remaining four gears had moderate gear strength: funding and resources (1.3); training and program delivery (1.9); promotion (2.0); and research and evaluation (1.3). Key policy and program gaps identified by the committee included sub-optimal coordination across partners, inadequate coverage and quality of services, insufficient government funding, sub-optimal enforcement of policies, and inadequate monitoring of existing initiatives. Prioritized recommendations from the process were: 1) strengthen advocacy and empower breastfeeding champions, 2) strengthen breastfeeding regulations, including maternity protection, 3) strengthen capacity for providing breastfeeding services, and 4) expand and sustain breastfeeding awareness initiatives.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The moderate environment for scaling-up breastfeeding in Ghana can be further strengthened by addressing identified gaps in policy and programs.
Project description:Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) is an initiative designed to track country readiness and progress to effectively scale up breastfeeding programmes. BBF includes a policy toolbox that has three components: the BBF Index (BBFI), case studies, and a five-meeting process. Mapping pathways of how BBF was implemented and utilized enables contextually grounded interpretation of its impact on breastfeeding outcomes. We conducted a programme impact pathways (PIP) analysis to identify pathways and critical quality control points (CCPs) by which BBF can enable changes in policy, legislation, and implementation of breastfeeding programmes. A BBF PIP diagram was developed, and CCPs were identified through a literature review and an iterative interviewing process with BBF investigators. The PIP was revised after feedback from BBF's Technical Advisory Group. BBF pretesting in Ghana and Mexico informed the formative evaluation of the PIP. PIP analysis identified relevant pathways between BBF activities and outcomes. Eight CCPs that could facilitate or attenuate BBF to fully impact the scaling up of the breastfeeding programmes were identified: (a) committee formed and trained; (b) committee understands BBF and BBFI; (c) committee's ability to acquire data; (d) BBFI scores; (e) criteria used for prioritizing recommendations; (f) dissemination of recommendations; (g) policymaker's reactions and media coverage; (h) committee's motivation and effective teamwork throughout BBF. Ghana and Mexico's pretesting of BBF confirmed the CCPs and provided valuable insights on potential mechanisms of BBF impacts at the country level. To further validate the PIP, a policy analysis framework is being tested in Ghana and Mexico.
Project description:Background:Optimal breastfeeding practices in Myanmar are above global averages, and the Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) has demonstrated its commitment to support nutrition and breastfeeding through continued policy and program actions. In 2017, the MoHS, in partnership with Save the Children, led the piloting of the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) Initiative. BBF provides a guide for countries to assess the enabling environment for breastfeeding and a country's readiness to scale up breastfeeding policies and programs. Objective:The aim of this study was to document the BBF process and outcomes in Myanmar. Methods:A Working Group (WG) of 14 members, led by a chair and 2 cochairs, conducted the BBF assessment using the BBF Index (BBFI), generated and prioritized recommendations, and disseminated the findings over the course of 5 meetings. Additional meetings were held to gain stakeholder endorsement and approval of the BBF process and WG before commencement and MoHS endorsement of the findings. Results:The BBFI score for Myanmar was 1.2 out of 3.0, which indicates a moderate environment for scaling up breastfeeding policies and programs. The Funding and Resources gear earned the lowest score (0.5), whereas Political Will earned the highest score (2.0). Overall, 4 gears were weak and 4 were moderate in strength. Nine recommendation themes were generated and prioritized. The top priority recommendation was to form a National Infant and Young Child Feeding Alliance. The MoHS endorsed the 9 recommendations in December 2018 and has provided leadership for the formation of the alliance. Conclusions:The BBF Initiative was successfully conducted in Myanmar, resulting in 9 prioritized recommendations for strengthening the breastfeeding enabling environment and substantial interagency collaborations. Adaptations to the BBF process were made for the context, and we note numerous lessons learned that should be considered by other countries that plan to commit to the BBF Initiative.
Project description:Global efforts to further improve exclusive breastfeeding rates have not been successful, in part because effective scaling-up frameworks and roadmaps have not been developed. The Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) toolbox includes an evidence-based index, the BBF Index (BBFI), to guide the development and tracking of large scale, well-coordinated, multisector national breastfeeding promotion programmes. This paper describes the development of the BBFI, which is grounded in the Breastfeeding Gear Model complex adaptive systems framework. The BBFI was developed by the BBF Steering Committee in collaboration with a high-level Technical Advisory Group following the Delphi consensus methodology. Key benchmarks and definitions were informed by evidence-based health, nutrition, and newborn survival initiatives identified from the academic and grey literature. The BBFI consists of 8 gears (54 benchmarks): Advocacy (4); Political Will (3); Legislation and Policies (10); Funding and Resources (4); Training and Program Delivery (17); Promotion (3); Research and Evaluation (10); and Coordination, Goals, and Monitoring (3). Scores are generated for 8 gear scores plus a total country score to gauge the scaling-up enabling environment. The BBFI provides an evidence-based index to assist countries in (a) assessing their readiness to scale up breastfeeding programmes and (b) tracking scaling-up progress.
Project description:Nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCDs) are a global health problem, increasingly recognised as driven by unhealthy food environments. Yet little is known about government action to implement food environment-relevant policies, particularly in low-and lower-middle income countries. This study assessed government action, implementation gaps, and priorities to improve the food environment in Ghana. Using the Healthy Food-Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI), a panel comprising government and independent experts (n = 19) rated government action to improve the healthiness of food environment in Ghana against international best practices and according to steps within a policy cycle. Forty-three good practice indicators of food environment policy and infrastructure support were used, with ratings informed by systematically collected evidence of action validated by government officials. Following the rating exercise, the expert panel proposed and prioritized actions for government implementation. Three-quarters of all good practice indicators were rated at 'low'/'very little' implementation. Restricting the marketing of breast milk substitutes was the only indicator rated "very high". Of ten policy actions prioritized for implementation, restricting unhealthy food marketing in children's settings and in the media were ranked the highest priority. Providing sufficient funds for nationally-relevant research on nutrition and NCDs was the highest priority infrastructure-support action. Other priority infrastructure-support actions related to leadership, monitoring and evaluation. This study identified gaps in Ghana's implementation of internationally-recommended policies to promote healthy food environments. National stakeholders recommended actions, which will require legislation and leadership. The findings provide a baseline for measuring government progress towards implementing effective policies to prevent NR-NCDs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To strengthen the implementation of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme which is Ghana's key primary health care delivery strategy, the CHPS+ Project was initiated in 2017. We examined community utilisation and satisfaction with CHPS services in two System Learning Districts (SLDs) of the project. METHODS:This community-based descriptive study was conducted in the Nkwanta South Municipality and Central Tongu District of Ghana. Data were collected from 1008 adults and analysed using frequency, percentage, chi-square, and logistic regression models. RESULTS:While the level of utilisation of CHPS services was 65.2%, satisfaction was 46.1%. Utilisation was 76.7% in Nkwanta South and 53.8% in Central Tongu. Satisfaction was also 55.2% in Nkwanta South and 37.1% in Central Tongu. Community members in Nkwanta South were more likely to utilise (AOR?=?3.17, 95%CI?=?3.98-9.76) and be satisfied (AOR?=?2.77, 95%CI?=?1.56-4.90) with CHPS services than those in Central Tongu. Females were more likely to utilise (AOR?=?1.75, 95%CI?=?1.27-2.39) but less likely to be satisfied [AOR?=?0.47, 95%CI?=?0.25-0.90] with CHPS services than males. Even though subscription to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was just 46.3%, NHIS subscribers were more likely to utilise (AOR?=?1.51, 95%CI?=?1.22-2.03) and be satisfied (AOR?=?1.45, 95%CI?=?0.53-1.68) with CHPS services than non-subscribers. CONCLUSION:Ghana may not be able to achieve the goal of universal health coverage (UHC) by the year 2030 if current levels of utilisation and satisfaction with CHPS services persist. To accelerate progress towards the achievement of UHC with CHPS as the vehicle through which primary health care is delivered, there should be increased public education by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on the CHPS concept to increase utilisation. Service quality should also be improved by the GHS and other stakeholders in Ghana's health industry to increase satisfaction with CHPS services. The GHS and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) should also institute innovative strategies to increase subscription to the NHIS since it has implications for CHPS service utilisation and satisfaction.
Project description:Three-quarters of sub-Saharan Africa's urban population currently live under slum conditions making them susceptible to ill health and diseases. Ghana characterizes the situation in many developing countries where the urban poor have become a group much afflicted by complex health problems associated with their living conditions, and the intra-city inequity between them and the more privileged urban dwellers with respect to health care accessibility. Adopting Ghana's rural Community-Based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) programme in urban areas is challenging due to the differences in social networks and health challenges thus making modifications necessary. The Community Health Officers (CHOs) and their supervisors are the frontline providers of health in the community and there is a need to analyze and document the health sector response to urban CHPS.The study was solely qualitative and 19 in-depth interviews were conducted with all the CHOs and key health sector individuals in supervisory/coordinating positions working in urban CHPS zones to elicit relevant issues concerning urban CHPS implementation. Thematic content data analysis was done using the NVivo 7 software.Findings from this appraisal suggest that the implementation of this urban concept of the CHPS programme has been well undertaken by the health personnel involved in the process despite the challenges that they face in executing their duties. Several issues came to light including the lack of first aid drugs, as well as the need for the Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI) programme and more indepth training for CHOs. In addition, the need to provide incentives for the volunteers and Community Health Committee members to sustain their motivation and the CHOs' apprehensions with regards to furthering their education and progression in their careers were key concerns raised.The establishment of the CHPS concept in the urban environment albeit challenging has been fraught with several opportunities to introduce innovations which tailor the rural milestones to meet urban needs. Modifications such as adjusting timing of home visits and renting accommodation in the communities for the CHOs have been beneficial to the programme.
Project description:Introduction:The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in parts of West Africa marked the 25th occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. While earlier outbreaks in Central and Eastern Africa had limited geographical extension and little media coverage, news media interest in the 2014 epidemic was remarkably high. In countries like Ghana, where the risk of imported infection was estimated to be among the highest, news coverage for the epidemic proliferated. This study aimed to describe and analyze the central themes which characterized media representations of the risk of Ebola outbreak in Ghana. Method:A quantitative content analysis (CA) was employed to study news media reportage of the risk of Ebola outbreak in Ghana. Two daily newspapers, the Daily Graphic and Today were sampled. An online search for Ebola news stories in the selected newspapers was conducted, and all hits with Ebola downloaded and screened. A total of 332 articles were retrieved and 156 articles met the inclusion criteria. Three independent coders carried out the coding using identical story analysis form. Results:In the course of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in parts of West Africa, the Daily Graphic and Today newspapers in Ghana published 332 stories about the epidemic. Of this number, the study analyzed 156 news articles which met the inclusion criteria. The analysis found that, media coverage for the risk of Ebola outbreak in Ghana reflected nine salient themes: concerns about the Ghana's preparedness, support for Ghana's preparation, public education on Ebola virus, assurances on Ghana's readiness, suspected cases of Ebola, effects of Ebola, critique of Ebola risk handling, Misinformation and other. Conclusion:Analysis of news media coverage for the threat of Ebola outbreak in Ghana revealed nine important themes. These themes, contributed to an understanding of the broad impact of the recent Ebola outbreak on various sectors of the population.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ghana introduced a national health insurance program in 2005 with the goal of removing user fees, popularly called "cash and carry", along with their associated catastrophic and impoverishment effects on the population and ensuring access to equitable health care. However, after a decade of implementation, the impact of this program on user fees and out-of-pocket payment (OOP) is not properly documented. This paper contributes to understanding the impact of Ghana's health insurance program on out-of-pocket healthcare payments and the factors associated with the level of out-of-pocket payments for primary healthcare in a predominantly rural region of Ghana. METHODS:Using a five-year panel data of revenues accruing to public primary health facilities in seven districts, We employed mean comparison tests (t-test) to examine the trend in revenues accruing from out-of-pocket payments vis-à-vis health insurance claims for health services, medication, and obstetric care. Furthermore, generalized estimation equation regression models were used to assess the relationship between explanatory variables and the level of out-of-pocket payments and health insurance claims. RESULTS:Out-of-pocket payment for health services and medications declined by 63% and 62% respectively between 2010 and 2014. Insurance claims however increased by 16% within the same period. There was statistically a significant mean reduction in out-of-pocket payment over the period. Factors significantly associated with out-of-pocket payments in a given district are the number of community health facilities, availability of a district hospital and the year of observation. CONCLUSION:The study provides evidence that Ghana's national health insurance program is significantly contributing to a reduction in out-of-pocket payment for primary healthcare in public health facilities. Efforts should therefore be put in place to ensure the sustainability of this policy as a major pathway for achieving universal health coverage in Ghana.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Jhpiego implemented a 5-year project to strengthen the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) model in six coastal districts of Ghana's Western Region. The project utilized a quality improvement approach (Standards-Based Management and Recognition [SBM-R]) to strengthen implementation fidelity of the CHPS model. This article presents findings from an end-of-project evaluation comparing quality, access to care, and experience of care in intervention and comparison CHPS zones. METHODS:A non-equivalent, posttest-only, end-of-project evaluation compared 12 randomly selected intervention zones with 12 matched comparison zones. Data from standards-based assessments measured provision of care in three categories: community engagement, clinical services, and facility readiness and management. Access to and experience of care were assessed using a household survey of 426 randomly selected community members from the selected CHPS zones. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to compare performance on these measures between intervention and comparison CHPS zones. RESULTS:Overall, intervention zones outperformed comparison zones on achievement of standards (83.6% vs 58.8%) across all three assessment categories, with strongest results in community engagement (85.7% vs. 41.4%). Respondents in intervention zones were more than twice as likely to have received a home visit from a community health officer, three times as likely to have a home visit from a community health volunteer, and more likely to have attended a health talk (41.9% vs. 27.0%). Client experiences of care were reported as positive in both study arms. CONCLUSIONS:The evaluation demonstrated improved access to quality care; however, there were very few differences in client experience of care between intervention and comparison zones. As Ghana and other countries are committed to scaling up universal health care, a pragmatic approach such as SBM-R could prove useful to engage both facility- and community-based service providers, as well as community members, to improve provision of care.