CDC in Ghana
CDC Ghana Team, October 2022. Photo by Archibald Sackey/U.S. Embassy Accra
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with Ghana since 2007. CDC provides technical assistance to the Government of Ghana (GoG) to support HIV/AIDS prevention and control through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). CDC also works with Ghana to strengthen laboratory, surveillance, and workforce capacities to respond to disease outbreaks in support of the Global Health Security Agenda; implement malaria interventions under the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); and build surveillance and laboratory capacity for influenza.
As a key implementer of PEPFAR, CDC works with Ghana to build a sustainable, high-impact national HIV program to accelerate progress toward UNAIDS global goals to control the HIV epidemic. CDC’s partnership with the Government of Ghana began in 2008 with the goal of strengthening HIV prevention and treatment. Over the past 14 years, CDC’s public health response matured from an emergency approach to a focus on sustaining the progress achieved through PEPFAR. CDC Ghana evolved from an HIV prevention program to a critical public health partner that supports Ghana’s national and regional laboratory and strategic information capabilities. Through PEPFAR, CDC is the lead U.S. Government agency for technical laboratory assistance in Ghana. CDC strives to enhance laboratorians’ skills and increase efficiency of laboratory services related to quality management systems and diagnostic network optimization. Since Ghana is the hub of PEPFAR’s West Africa Region unit, CDC Ghana also provides technical laboratory and strategic information support to partners in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone.
CDC leads strategic information activities, including efforts to improve data collection and analysis across the HIV cascade (testing, treatment, and viral load suppression) to inform decision-making. CDC also helps generate national and sub-national estimates of people living with HIV and develops tools and collects data for key populations, including female sex workers and men who have sex with men.
CDC provides technical and financial support to the GoG to develop policies that strengthen laboratory systems and services, improve the national HIV testing, and enhance service delivery
CDC partners with the Ghana Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana Health Service, and the National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Infection Control Program to develop and implement the e-Tracker HIV Module. This module provides a common platform that allows the GoG’s to track progress against HIV and case management services
CDC supports the Ghana AIDS Commission to develop annual sub-national estimates of people living with HIV to inform decision-making. These data are used for program planning, supply forecasting, and establishment of national and PEPFAR goals
CDC also supported the Ghana AIDS Commission to develop and launch the Ghana Key Population Unique Identifier System. This system was developed to increase privacy and continuity of services and will help the MOH to provide tailored services
CDC supports an ongoing Integrated Bio-Behavioral Survey of female sex workers, which is funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
The first case of COVID-19 in Ghana was confirmed on March 12, 2020. Since the pandemic was declared, CDC has supported the development and implementation of national COVID-19 response and vaccine deployment plans. Previous collaborations between CDC and MOH to expand national and subnational laboratory capacity and community-based surveillance were critical to the country’s COVID-19 response. Field Epidemiology Training Program residents and graduates were also instrumental to the country’s COVID-19 response as they led several response activities and supported the Ghana Health Service in all 16 regions in the country.
As of November 25, 2022, more than 21 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered with more than 12 million people receiving at least one dose
More than 9 million people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 2.6 million people have received their first booster as of late November 2022
Global Health Security
CDC’s global health security efforts in Ghana help strengthen the country’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks before they become epidemics that could affect global populations. These efforts help Ghana reach the goals outlined in the Global Health Security Agenda; a global partnership launched in 2014 to help protect the world from infectious disease threats. CDC works with the MOH and other partners to provide expertise and assistance across the 11 global health security technical areas. These technical focus areas help Ghana build core public health capacities in disease surveillance, laboratory systems, workforce development, emergency management, and other critical areas.
CDC helped strengthen the National Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHOEC) response functions and establish four new regional PHEOCs. To support response coordination, CDC provided equipment and assistance to develop operational manuals, trainings, and simulation exercises
CDC helped implement indicator- and community-based disease surveillance to strengthen early detection and reporting of priority diseases, conditions, and unusual health events
CDC and partners developed a national specimen referral policy and referral system in Northern and Greater Accra regions
CDC supported ISO 15189:2012 accreditation for the National Public Health and Reference Laboratory and ISO 9001:2015 certification for public health laboratories in the Northern, Western, and Ashanti regions
CDC helped establish molecular testing laboratories for two zonal laboratories in the Northern and Western regions
CDC helped establish genomic sequencing laboratories at the National Public Health and Reference Laboratory and the Genomic and Infectious Disease Laboratory
CDC supported establishment of the Tamale Infectious Disease Treatment Center at the Tamale Teaching Hospital in the northern region
Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP)
CDC supports Ghana to strengthen the workforce’s abilities to investigate and respond to disease outbreaks through the FELTP. The FELTP trains a workforce of epidemiologists to identify and contain outbreaks before they become epidemics, gather critical data, and translate data into evidence-based action. In recognition that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment, the Ghana FELTP enrolls physicians, laboratory scientists, veterinarians, and Food and Drug Authority officials. Ghana has trained over 400 FELTP participants who have conducted more than 100 outbreak investigations, including meningitis, cholera, yellow fever, influenza, measles, rubella, and anthrax.
CDC helped train rapid response teams in 10 regions
The Frontline FELTP program trained 468 healthcare workers from 124 districts since 2014
70 epidemiologists completed the Intermediate FELTP since 2018
154 epidemiologists from English-speaking West African countries completed the Advanced FELTP since 2007
Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) trainees and alumni have conducted over 160 outbreak investigations in Ghana
Malaria is endemic and perennial (constantly present) in all parts of Ghana, with seasonal variations more pronounced in the north. Under the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), CDC assigned a resident advisor to support implementation of malaria prevention and control activities in Ghana. Key activities include: providing long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying, preventing malaria in pregnancy, and improving diagnostics and case management.
In partnership with PMI, Ghana has made significant progress against malaria: child death rates have fallen and life-saving tools, such as bed nets and preventive treatment for pregnant women, are reaching more people. Ghana also uses an updated electronic District Health Information Management System, which improves malaria data quality, timely reporting, and completeness. Laboratory confirmation has also improved significantly with 97 percent of malaria outpatient cases confirmed in 2021.
The malaria case fatality rate among children under age five declined from 14 percent in 2000 to less than half of one percent in 2016
CDC provided technical support to monitor the impact of a new, longer-lasting insecticide; develop a national insecticide resistance-monitoring program; and create a national insecticide-resistance and entomological database
CDC Ghana also collaborated with the Kintampo Center for Diagnostic Excellence in Ghana to support the establishment a WHO-certified national archive of malaria slides for training and quality assurance
PMI/Ghana supports the FELTP and has trained 68 epidemiologists since 2012
In 2022, PMI/Ghana supported the Ghana National Malaria Elimination Program to reach more than 940,000 people with indoor residual spray, including more than 20,500 pregnant women and 159,500 children under age 5
PMI/Ghana supported Clinical Outreach Training and Supportive Supervision training in 2020 to help strengthen of the quality of malaria case management. More than 8,700 health workers in 2,140 health facilities were trained to increase their skills, adherence, and compliance to malaria case management guidelines
CDC works with partners in Ghana to help strengthen influenza surveillance and laboratory capacity to prevent, detect, respond, and prepare for influenza threats. Since 2007, CDC has partnered with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), the Ghana Health Service/MOH, and the US Naval Medical Research Unit 3. CDC uses the established influenza surveillance system to support inpatient and outpatient respiratory disease surveillance in the greater Accra area. This surveillance system is also used to conduct studies on influenza infection among HIV-infected adults and the impact of influenza on pregnancy. Ghana is a regional hub for West Africa. CDC supports the NMIMR to provide trainings, technical assistance visits, and emergency supplies to increase neighboring countries’ capacity to respond to influenza.
The National Influenza Center (NIC) regularly collects and contributes data to the WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System
Each of Ghana’s 16 regions have at least one influenza surveillance site
Ghana’s influenza surveillance system was leveraged for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and was instrumental to the COVID-19 pandemic response
With financial and technical support from CDC, multiple public health experts across the African continent have been trained at the Ghana NIC
- 3 U.S. Assignees
- 6 Locally Employed
- Population: > 31.7 million
- Per capita income: $6,020
- Life expectancy: F 66 / M 62 years
- Infant mortality rate: 32/1,000 live births
Sources: World Bank 2021, Ghana; Population Reference Bureau 2022, Ghana