Adapting the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) to engage poor urban communities in Ghana: protocol for a participatory action research study

Mary Abboah-Offei*, Akosua Gyasi Darkwa, Andrews Ayim, Adelaide Maria Ansah-Ofei, Delanyo Dovlo, John K. Awoonor-Williams, Erasmus Emmanuel Akurugu Agongo, Irene Akua Agyepong, Helen Elsey

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction With rapid urbanisation in low-income and middle-income countries, health systems are struggling to meet the needs of their growing populations. Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) in Ghana have been effective in improving maternal and child health in rural areas; however, implementation in urban areas has proven challenging. This study aims to engage key stakeholders in urban communities to understand how the CHPS model can be adapted to reach poor urban communities.

Methods and analysis A Participatory Action Research (PAR) will be used to develop an urban CHPS model with stakeholders in three selected CHPS zones: (a) Old Fadama (Yam and Onion Market community), (b) Adedenkpo and (c) Adotrom 2, representing three categories of poor urban neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana. Two phases will be implemented: phase 1 (‘reconnaissance phase) will engage and establish PAR research groups in the selected zones, conduct focus groups and individual interviews with urban residents, households vulnerable to ill-health and CHPS staff and key stakeholders. A desk review of preceding efforts to implement CHPS will be conducted to understand what worked (or not), how and why. Findings from phase 1 will be used to inform and co-create an urban CHPS model in phase 2, where PAR groups will be involved in multiple recurrent stages (cycles) of community-based planning, observation, action and reflection to develop and refine the urban CHPS model. Data will be managed using NVivo software and coded using the domains of community engagement as a framework to understand community assets and potential for engagement.

Ethics and dissemination This study has been approved by the University of York’s Health Sciences Research Governance Committee and the Ghana Health Service Ethics Review Committee. The results of this study will guide the scale-up of CHPS across urban areas in Ghana, which will be disseminated through journal publications, community and government stakeholder workshops, policy briefs and social media content. This study is also funded by the Medical Research Council, UK.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere049564
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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