Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) contribute significantly to illness, disability, and death in Ghana. During the last fifty years, CVDs rose from the tenth leading cause of death to the number one leading cause in both urban and rural areas. The burden of CVDs is expected to continue due to aging, rapid urbanization, and unhealthy lifestyles. Within the Ghanaian population, 48% of Ghanaian adults suffer from hypertension and 18% of acute hospital admissions (heart failure, stroke, etc.) are attributable to hypertension.
To decrease the influx of hypertension and diabetes in Ghana, cost-effective strategies to prevent, detect, and manage are urgently needed. For Ghanaians affected by these diseases, the affordability of quality medicines, well-trained health care workers, and medical equipment remains a major barrier for Ghanaians with limited incomes and those living in rural areas.
The program, Akoma Pa (meaning healthy or good heart), is an integrated care model that delivers free quality health services and medications leading to improved patient outcomes. Its goal is to improve the diagnosis, control, and treatment of patients with hypertension and/or diabetes to minimize life-threatening complications and increase the quality of life in rural Ghana.
The program assists patients at every step of their treatment journey from awareness, mobile screening, and early diagnosis to disease management and treatment. To overcome remote location, limited screening, equipment, and staff as well as and limited patient education barriers, Akoma Pa combines in-person services with digital care through mobile-based community screening, digital check-ups, tailored care plans, e-prescriptions, accessible educational modules as well as comprehensive virtual and in-person Patient Support Groups.
Within the first 12 months of Akoma Pa, the goal is to enroll 78,600 patients and achieve clinical outcomes for 23,000 patients. The program will be launched in 85 health facilities across Ghana this year (2022). Once accomplished, this joint project would create the largest end-to-end program for non-communicative diseases (NCDs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
To obtain scalable system-level innovation throughout Ghana, Medtronic LABS has partnered with The Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Ghana’s second-largest health care provider with 1140 healthcare and training facilities across the country, as well as Novartis SSA, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for financing, and implementation support by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.