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NPHI Stories: CDC and Bloomberg Philanthropies Help Ghana Improve Public Health Communication

CDC and Bloomberg Philanthropies staff work with Ghana Health Service staff on a the Data for Health initiative.

CDC and Bloomberg Philanthropies staff work with Ghana Health Service staff on a the Data for Health initiative.

Accurate and up-to-date public health data helps people make good decisions to protect their health. As part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Data for Health initiative, CDC is working with Ghana to improve its health communication, as well as develop a long-term guide for program and policy decision-making using scientific data.

Getting current health news to the public has been a bit of a challenge for Ghana. It took 12 weeks from the time Ghana Health Service (GHS) received local district, infectious-disease, surveillance data reports to when GHS published the data in the Ghana Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin. The delay prevented people from making timely, informed health decisions.

Since the CDC and Ghana began working together in February 2016, GHS has cut the delay time between getting health data from local districts to publishing the information by more than half. Now, public health information is available in five weeks, instead of twelve.

Ghana Health Service's Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin

Ghana Health Service’s Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin

Work reformatting the GHS bulletin has also improved public health information delivery—the bulletin is more appealing visually, and has room to feature more in-depth articles.

Further efforts to improve sharing health news involve GHS getting a full-time, senior editor on staff. The person in that position would be responsible for developing standard operating procedures, determining production and distribution schedules, and creating a strategic plan for the Ghana Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin.

Continued efforts by the CDC and Ghana over the next six months should ensure GHS’ ability to spread critical public health information that keeps the public safe from health threats.

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