A SHOPS baseline survey of the Western, Central and Greater Accra regions conducted in 2012 showed that 69 percent of children with diarrhea are taken to a professional health provider for treatment, of which roughly 50% seek care from a private sector provider.
Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) is USAID’s private health sector initiative. The project works to involve non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and for-profit entities in addressing the many health needs of people in Ghana. SHOPS focuses on increasing availability, improving quality and expanding coverage of essential health products and services in family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDs, and other areas through the private sector. Including the private sector is critical because they play an important role in Ghana and are an integral part of the health system serving both urban and rural areas and the rich and poor. Private providers are valuable resources and can help relieve the demands placed on the public sector. Investing in the private sector improves the delivery of health services, strengthens the health system and results in better health outcomes. The project provides technical assistance in assessments, behavior change communication, health financing, mHealth, NGO sustainability, pharmaceutical partnerships, policy, provider access to finance, provider networks and quality improvement. SHOPS has also made use of the growth of mobile technologies in Africa to educate consumers using health information, to strengthen health care provider training and to improve program management through better data collection tools.
Some of current SHOPS activities in Ghana are: improving diarrhea management practices of over-the-counter medicine sellers, introducing zinc as a treatment for childhood diarrhea, and strengthening the capacity of licensed chemical sellers to obtain and manage insurance agency reimbursements.