The impact of decentralisation on sexual and reproductive health services in Ghana

Reprod Health Matters. 2003 May;11(21):74-87. doi: 10.1016/s0968-8080(03)02171-2.


This paper analyses the impact of decentralisation on the political organisation, management and provision of sexual and reproductive health services in Ghana. It draws on qualitative research and interviews with key informants from the Ministry of Health, donors, NGOs, regional and district health management teams, local government and community leaders. Within a national reproductive health policy framework, previously disparate family planning, maternal and child health, STI and HIV/AIDS programmes have become more integrated, and donors have pooled or co-ordinated their funding. Some decision-making about resource allocation is meant to happen at district and regional level but in practice, this remains centrally controlled, which may be a necessary safeguard for sexual and reproductive health services. Earmarked donor funds still ensure a regular supply of contraceptives and STI drugs. However, paying for these is problematic at local level. Sexual and reproductive health staff make up a large proportion of primary health care staff, but especially in rural areas they experience poor working conditions, and there is high turnover and vacancies. District and sub-district level links are working well in this new system, but clarity is still needed on how different national sexual and reproductive health bodies relate to each other and to regional and district health authorities. The development of formal mechanisms for priority setting and advocacy at local levels could help to secure benefits for sexual and reproductive health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Decision Making, Organizational*
  • Family Planning Services / organization & administration*
  • Financing, Government / organization & administration
  • Ghana
  • Health Care Reform / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Politics
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reproductive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Resource Allocation / organization & administration
  • Venereology / organization & administration*