Challenges to the delivery of clinical diabetes services in Ghana created by the COVID-19 pandemic

Eunice Twumwaa Tagoe*, Justice Nonvignon, Robert van Der Meer, Itamar Megiddo, Brian Godman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The barriers to delivering clinical non-communicable disease services in low- and middle-income countries have risen with the onset of COVID-19. Using Ghana as a case study, this article examines the changes COVID-19 has brought to diabetes service delivery and considers policy responses to deal with future such outbreaks. Methods: We conducted 18 interviews between November 2020 and February 2021 with health professionals and administrators from primary, secondary and tertiary facilities within the Ghana Health Service. The analysis was performed using deductive and inductive methods. Results: There were six general themes in interviewees’ responses: (1) COVID-19 had exacerbated the problems of high medicine and service costs and medicine shortages, (2) the pandemic had exacerbated problems of poor patient record keeping, (3) COVID-19 had reduced the availability of suitably trained health providers, (4) staff had become demoralized by management’s unwillingness to make innovative changes to cope with the pandemic, (5) COVID-19 led to a reorganization of diabetes services, and (6) the country’s national health insurance scheme lacked flexibility in dealing with the pandemic. Conclusions: Access to resources is limited in LMICs. However, our study highlights practical policy responses that can improve health providers’ response to COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Services Research and Policy
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Ghana
  • diabetes service delivery

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