KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) and Medtronic LABS have teamed up to launch a community-based screening, diagnosis, and management program for diabetes, hypertension, and maternal health in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The program is part of the CHPS+ Phase II Project, aimed at improving primary healthcare delivery, with a focus on maternal, neonatal, and children’s health.
The initiative is designed to identify early warning signs of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and identify community members with diabetes and hypertension. The program will be launched in 10 CHPS Zones, linked to three health centers and one district hospital.
The prevalence of hypertension in pregnancy in Africa ranges from 0.9% to 14.8%, with the highest rates reported in West African countries, including Ghana. Unmanaged hypertensive disorders in pregnant women are among the top three causes of death, according to a 2013 Ghana Medical Journey retrospective study. KOICA and Medtronic LABS have come together to introduce effective screening and management initiatives to help proactively identify and address these preventable health challenges in pregnant women in Ghana.
The program is cost-effective, with patients managed for less than $20 per year, and sustainable, leveraging investments for strengthening capital and building capacity with existing personnel and resources. Medtronic LABS will provide standard kits comprising BP machines and glucometers to ensure that patients are managed at the CHPS and community level, thereby reducing transportation barriers.
The community-based management approach will ensure frequent, local follow-up for conditions that would typically require visits to health centers, which can be challenging and impractical in the Upper East Region. The program leverages Medtronic LABS’ digital health platform, SPICE, to provide longitudinal patient records and has linkage to referral facilities to ensure that patients are not lost in advanced care.
Akwasi Obeng, Head of Field Operations, Medtronic LABS Ghana, said, “Our key objective is to improve access to primary care and ensure meaningful clinical outcomes. The program aims to move beyond diagnosis to provide a care model that is aligned with Ghana’s Primary Healthcare Delivery CHPS and Network of Practice Models. We hope to strengthen the “Model Health Centre” approach by enabling bidirectional communication from the CHPS and District levels and supporting diagnostic capacity. This program integrates across primary care, addressing maternal health and NCDs together.”
The program is expected to enroll an estimated 3,000 patients, of which at least 500 will be pregnant women in the Upper East Region of Ghana. This partnership represents a significant step towards aligning with Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) objectives of timely access to quality care by providing effective screening, diagnosis, and management of diabetes and hypertension, task-shifting at the sub-district level, and an opportunity for greater integration across disease states at the primary care level. It addresses preventable maternal mortality clinical challenges, such as unmanaged hypertensive disorders in pregnant women, which are one of the top 3 causes of death.