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Present a review on factors influencing health outcomes (morbidity and mortality) in upper west region of Ghana. They include availability of health facilities, accessibility/geographic access to health care facilities, affordability, availability of heal


The Upper West region of Ghana is located in the northern part of the country, and is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped regions. This has significant implications on health outcomes, as the region faces various challenges that affect the healthcare sector. In this review, we will discuss the factors that influence health outcomes in the Upper West region of Ghana, including availability of health facilities, accessibility to health care facilities, affordability, availability of health personnel and equipment, and cultural beliefs and practices. Availability of Health Facilities: One of the main factors influencing health outcomes in the Upper West region is the availability of health facilities. The region has a very low density of health facilities and services, with only 5.7 health facilities per 100,000 population, compared to the national average of 10.8 per 100,000 population (Ghana Health Service, 2020). These facilities are also unevenly distributed, with a concentration in urban areas and a lack of facilities in rural areas. This leads to limited access to health care services for the majority of the population, especially those living in remote and hard-to-reach areas. Accessibility to Health Care Facilities: Geographic access to health care facilities is another major factor influencing health outcomes in the Upper West region. The region has a large rural population, with low-income households living in remote and isolated areas. This poses a significant barrier to accessing health care services, as the distance to health facilities can be long and the terrain difficult, making it challenging and costly for individuals to seek medical care when needed. This results in delayed diagnosis and treatment, which can worsen health outcomes. Affordability: The cost of health care services is a major barrier to accessing health care in the Upper West region. The region has a high poverty rate, with many individuals and households struggling to meet their basic needs. The high cost of health care services, including transportation costs and user fees, makes it difficult for individuals to seek care when they are ill. This results in delayed seeking of care, leading to more severe health conditions and poor health outcomes. Availability of Health Personnel and Equipment: The Upper West region also faces a severe shortage of health personnel and equipment, which has a direct impact on health outcomes. According to the Ghana Health Service (2019), the region has a shortage of health workers, with only 1 health worker for every 1,000 people, compared to the recommended ratio of 1 health worker for every 500 people. This shortage is more severe in rural areas, where most health facilities are staffed by only one or two health workers. This puts a strain on the existing health workforce, resulting in limited capacity to provide quality health care services. In addition, the lack of basic medical equipment and supplies further hinders the ability of health workers to effectively diagnose and treat illnesses. Cultural Beliefs and Practices: Cultural beliefs and practices also play a significant role in health outcomes in the Upper West region. Traditional and cultural beliefs influence health-seeking behavior and perceptions of illness, leading to delayed seeking of appropriate health care. For instance, the belief in ancestral spirits causing illness and the preference for traditional healers over modern medicine can contribute to poor health outcomes in the region. In conclusion, health outcomes in the Upper West region of Ghana are influenced by various factors, including the availability and accessibility of health facilities, affordability, availability of health personnel and equipment, and cultural beliefs and practices. These issues need to be addressed to improve the health outcomes in the region. Policy interventions such as increasing the number of health facilities, improving their distribution, and reducing user fees can help improve access to health care services. Additionally, there is a need for the government to invest in the recruitment and retention of health personnel and the provision of essential medical equipment and supplies. Community engagement and education on the importance of seeking early and appropriate medical care can also help address cultural barriers to health care access.