Yakubu Ismaila, MA
Yakubu Ismaila is currently working for Evidence for Action, a UK Department for International Development sponsored programme running in six sub-Saharan African countries. He is involved in drawing up the concept for an ICT supported facility assessment on quality of care for mothers and new-borns in Ghana. He trains health management teams, CBO representatives and community members in the assessment of health facilities and facilitates interface meetings between these key stakeholders to find solutions to identified gaps.
NGOs as Agents of Change in Health Development: The Agogo Presbyterian PHC Unit and CBS Volunteers
The main aim of the MA thesis was to find out the extent to which a faith based organisation – the Presbyterian Health Services is able to turn community members into agents of health development through community participation by Community Based Surveillance (CBS) volunteers. The study location was the mostly rural location of the Agogo sub district in the Ashanti Akim District of the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The study is based on review of literature on, Primary Health Care (PHC), community participation and community health workers. Data was also collected by qualitative research techniques namely, In-depth interviews and observation.
The study revealed that the Agogo PHC is implementing the CHPS programme but although it is specified that in Community-based Health and Planning and Services (CHPS), communities should get more involved and own CHPS though among other means, the use of a volunteer system, CBS volunteers, in most communities are used only in disease surveillance and the mobilisation of community members. The study however indicates that volunteers are doing more in terms of health delivery. Apart from their core activities mentioned earlier they are involved in the education of members of their communities on common diseases in their areas, they do case searches for buruli ulcer, take part in immunisation during national immunisation days and also assist in researches field work in their communities.
The study however indicates that that CBS volunteers only carry out activities specified by the Agogo PHC unit. Neither volunteers nor community members make meaningful inputs with regard to programme design. The study further reveals that though participation is believed to enhance the empowerment of not only those members who participate but also the larger community, this is not the case in the use of the CBS volunteers in the Agogo Sub-district as empowerment has occurred only to the CBS volunteers.