The state of surgery, obstetrics, trauma, and anaesthesia care in Ghana: a narrative review
Journal – Global Health Action
Article type – Journal research article – Literature review
Publication date – Aug – 2022
Authors – Desmond T. Jumbam, Emmanuella Amoako, Paa-Kwesi Blankson, Meredith Xepoleas, Shady Said, Elikem Nyavor, Adam Gyedu, Opoku W. Ampomah, Ulrick Sidney Kanmounye
Keywords – Ghana, global surgery, Health system strengthening, National Surgical Obstetrics and Anaesthesia Planpolicy analysis
Open access – Yes
Speciality – Anaesthesia, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Trauma surgery
World region Western Africa
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on August 25, 2022 at 9:11 pm
Conditions amenable to surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia (SOTA) care are a major contributor to death and disability in Ghana. SOTA care is an essential component of a well-functioning health system, and better understanding of the state of SOTA care in Ghana is necessary to design policies to address gaps in SOTA care delivery.
The aim of this study is to assess the current situation of SOTA care in Ghana.
A situation analysis was conducted as a narrative review of published scientific literature. Information was extracted from studies according to five health system domains related to SOTA care: service delivery, workforce, infrastructure, finance, and information management.
Ghanaians face numerous barriers to accessing quality SOTA care, primarily due to health system inadequacies. Over 77% of surgical operations performed in Ghana are essential procedures, most of which are performed at district-level hospitals that do not have consistent access to imaging and operative room fundamentals. Tertiary facilities have consistent access to these modalities but lack consistent access to oxygen and/or oxygen concentrators on-site as well as surgical supplies and anaesthetic medicines. Ghanaian patients cover up to 91% of direct SOTA costs out-of-pocket, while health insurance only covers up to 14% of the costs. The Ghanaian surgical system also faces severe workforce inadequacies especially in district-level facilities. Most specialty surgeons are concentrated in urban areas. Ghana’s health system lacks a solid information management foundation as it does not have centralized SOTA databases, leading to incomplete, poorly coded, and illegible patient information.
This review establishes that surgical services provided in Ghana are focused primarily on district-level facilities that lack adequate infrastructure and face workforce shortages, among other challenges. A comprehensive scale-up of Ghana’s surgical infrastructure, workforce, national insurance plan, and information systems is warranted to improve Ghana’s surgical system.
OSI Number – 21739