Ghana High-level Multisectoral Stakeholder Engagement Seeks to Mobilize Political Commitment for the Neglected Tropical Diseases Sustainability Agenda
Group photo
Figure 1. Group photo from Ghana’s High-Level Breakfast Meeting on NTDs Sustainability Agenda held on December 8, 2021. Photo credit: World Vision


The Ghana Neglected Tropical Diseases Program (NTDP) under the Ghana Health Service (GHS), together with the NTD Ambassador Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, joined forces to mobilize national political and financial commitment for sustainable NTD interventions in alignment with the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. The Ghana Beyond Aid agenda of President Nana Akufo-Addo reinforces political will for building Ghana’s capacity to plan, finance, and implement solutions for the country’s development challenges and to ensure commitment to sustain those solutions effectively, inclusively, and with accountability. In line with this vision, the NTDP and NTD Ambassador held a high-level multisectoral stakeholder engagement meeting on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, to promote the NTD sustainability agenda across sectors. The engagement was supported through USAID’s Act to End Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) | West Program (Act | West).

The event was chaired by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and brought together high-level officials from key NTD-adjacent public sectors, which included the Ministries of Finance, Health, Sanitation and Water Resources, Education, Research, and Academia, as well WHO, UNICEF, and other technical and financial partners. Leaders of  MLGRD were guests of honor for this event, allowing the GHS/NTDP to leverage the decentralized governance of this ministry’s mandate to advocate for resource mobilization and integration of NTD functions at all levels of the health systems.

Technical advisor to MLGRD
Figure 2. Mr. Sam Akoto-Danso, Technical Advisor to Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (Minister’s Representative) and Chairperson for High-level Breakfast Meeting, delivering his remarks. Photo credit: World Vision

The MLGRD, represented by its Technical Advisor Mr. Sam Akoto-Danso, emphasized Ghana’s decentralized governance as a unique opportunity for NTD service delivery to be reflected in the Ghana’s revised health policy, which recognizes the role of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as key actors in healthcare delivery across Ghana’s health pyramid. He further highlighted the importance of reducing the NTD burden as a development issue for Ghana and the inclusion of health-specific indicators in national development policies such as the District Assemblies Performance Assessment Tool.

Through this tool, the ministry identifies gaps in health service delivery and provides direct support to health facilities to address emerging challenges. Moreover, the ministry has enrolled at least 90% of persons living with disabilities in the National Health Insurance Scheme to reduce gaps in use of and access to quality health services. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and GHS, the MLGRD is committed to finding solutions to ensure that health strategies at the subnational and local levels expand coverage of NTD social services, a giant step towards the de-stigmatization of morbidity management service provision. This commitment is aligned with their policy aimed at increasing access and utilization of health facilities across districts towards Universal Health Coverage and NTD elimination outlined in the newly launched Presidential Agenda 111[1].

Figure 3. Honorable Rev John Ntim Fordjour, Deputy Minister of Education, Ghana delivering his remarks. Photo credit: World Vision

Building on this commitment, the NTDP/GHS advocated the Ministry of Education to earmark funding for NTD activities within the MMDAs arrangements such as mobilization of funding for the national malaria and HIV program at the sub-national and decentralized level. The Education sector, a key collaborator and partner of the GHS/NTDP, represented by Deputy Minister of Education Honorable Rev John Ntim Fordjour, noted that the ministry is strongly driving the government’s education agenda by ensuring that no child is left behind. He further noted that because NTDs contribute to students’ low school attendance due to illness and stigmatization, committing to the integration of school deworming as one of the key components of the educational system operations in Ghana would be another major step towards the cross-sectoral policy integration of NTD programming.

The breadth of discussion from other stakeholders focused on the importance of country ownership, integration of cross-sectoral interventions, and the prioritization of innovative technical assistance as essential factors for long-term success. This was further expanded in the NTDP’s presentation, which focused on key achievements towards control and elimination objectives. Also presented were major challenges to NTD sustainability, notably the inadequate provision of morbidity management and disability prevention services as core bottlenecks to NTD programming. The NTDP called for renewed collaboration and ownership among cross-sectoral stakeholders to strengthen the operationalization of the Intra-Country Coordination Committee (ICCC). The WHO representative, Dr. Sally-Ann Ohene, urged the government to allocate adequate resources in the fight against NTDs and stressed the need for improved access to essential medicines, a well-trained and motivated workforce, and community ownership of health interventions. Collectively, the stakeholders have understood that now is the time to mobilize resources and secure political commitment at the national and community levels to end the fight against NTDs.

Call to Action

Dr. Joyce Aryee, Ghana’s NTD Ambassador, advocated for all guests and partners present to collective action as “Deputy NTD Ambassadors” to support in the fight against NTDs and highlighted that these diseases are treatable and can be eliminated with country ownership and political commitment.      The Honorable Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (Minister of Health) remarked on Ghana’s commitment, stating, “Ghana is strategically positioned since it has been a pacesetter globally in several health exploits. It became one of the first countries to eliminate Trachoma and a leading country in the COVID-19 response. Ghana should be motivated by these achievements, so we do not lag in the fight against NTDs.”



[1] A health project commissioned by Ghana’s President in August 2021 that aims at the design, procurement, construction, equipping, and commissioning of 101 District Hospitals, 6 Regional Hospitals in newly created regions, as well as 1 Regional Hospital in the Western Region, 2 Psychiatric Hospitals in Kumasi and Tamale and a redeveloped Accra Psychiatric Hospital.