The Eni Foundation supported a healthcare project in Ghana to improve primary medical services for mothers and children.

About the project

The Eni Foundation implemented a project to support the work of local health authorities in the three coastal districts of Jomoro, Ellembele and Ahanta West in western Ghana. Approximately 300,000 inhabitants live here, predominantly located in rural and isolated areas, of which more than 80,000 are children aged 10 or under and 70,000 are women of childbearing age. The aim was to improve services for mothers and children at both district and regional level. The project lasted from November 2012 to May 2017, and cost approximately €8 million.

The health pyramid

The Ghanaian healthcare system is managed by the government-run Ghana Health Service and has a pyramid structure, divided into four levels. Patients that cannot be treated locally are referred higher up to health centres and district hospitals.

Our achievements

We achieved the following results:

  • Community level: we built, equipped and opened eight Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds in Nyamebekiyere, Jaway Wharf, Fawoman, Sanzule, New Ankasa, Tewakor II (Jomoro), Abudrim and Asomase (Ellembele), and laid on water and electricity.
  • Sub-district level: we renovated 10 health centres and supplied them with equipment, water and electricity: New Town, Samaye, Tikobo, Ekabeku (Jomoro), Aido Suazo, Aiyinasi, Asasetre, Essiama, Nkroful (Ellembele) and Agona Nkwanta (Ahanta West). Four ambulances and an ambulance boat were donated to the district of Jomoro, which is bordered on one side by a lagoon. 
  • District level: we created a new prenatal block at Saint Martin des Porres Hospital (Eikwe, Ellembele) and provided a 4x4 vehicle to improve the preventive medicine and healthcare services in poorly-equipped villages in the region. An operating theatre was built and equipped at Half Assini Hospital and the maternity block and inpatient wards expanded.
  • District and regional level: a bespoke training programme was drawn up for staff at all levels. The project aimed to improve the effectiveness of the regional and district health management information system across the board.

Aims of the project

The aim of the project was to manage and provide services for mothers and children by improving the medical and management skills of staff, developing infrastructure (water/electricity, equipment, medical facilities and emergency transport) and improving knowledge of hygiene, health issues and healthy living among the community. Each of the four levels of the healthcare system had its own specific objectives:

  • Community level: expanding basic maternal and child health services in eight poorly-served areas, offering large-scale vaccination programmes, information and education.
  • Sub-district level: improving maternal and child medical services and emergency obstetric and neonatal care in 10 health centres.
  • District level: improving key maternal and child services (inpatient and outpatient) and particularly emergency obstetric and neonatal care (including surgery) in two district hospitals.
  • District and regional level: improving management in the healthcare system – from data collection to planning, monitoring and assessing healthcare programmes, and from training medical staff to teaching at nursing colleges.


Assessing the impact of the project

To assess the impact on recipients’ routines and health, the Eni Foundation, with the agreement of the Ghana Health Service and support of the University of Cape Coast, carried out research to identify the needs of those living in the subject area and study the basic indicators.

Our partners

The Eni Foundation financed the project and was responsible for its management, working in partnership with:

  • the Ghanaian Ministry of Health
  • the Ghana Health Service, the government-run agency that manages public healthcare facilities
  • the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), an NGO whose San Martin des Porres Hospital is a crucial district-level and specialist referral centre
  • the Bambin Gesù Paediatric Hospital, which provided technical support for training medical and nursing staff

Country Data: Ghana

Population (millions) 27.410
- aged under 18 (millions)
- aged under 5 (millions)
Life expectancy at birth (years) 61
Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)  
- 0-5 years
- 0-12 months
- neonatal
% born underweight (2006-10) 10,7
% children aged 0-5 underweight (moderate or severe, 2006-10) 13,4
% children aged 0-5 with stunted growth (moderate or severe, 2003-09) 22,7
Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births) 350
Lifetime risk of maternal death (2008) 1 su 68
Gross National Income per capita (US $) 1.550
Healthcare spending  
- as % of Gross National Income (2010), source: WHO
- as % of state expenditure (2010), source: WHO
Source: UNICEF 2010