Journal of Public Health

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 225–234 | Cite as

The health MDGs in Ghana: lessons and implications for the implementation of the sustainable development goals

  • Ama Pokuaa Fenny
  • Aba O. Crentsil
  • Charles Ackah
Original Article



The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an initiative by the United Nations, consisted of eight broad goals, which were envisaged to improve the living conditions of the world’s populations. In spite of the momentum and investments made to achieve the MDGs, significant challenges still exist at the global and national levels. In Ghana, the attainment of some MDGs was uneven across the goals and within the country. This paper critically reviews the implementation of the health MDGs in Ghana: specifically, MDG 4, MDG 5 and MDG 6. The study focuses on drawing key lessons from the national implementation strategies and institutional reforms adopted by Ghana towards achieving these health MDG targets.


The study uses content analysis of policy documents in selected programmatic interventions which have been deemed influential in reaching the health MDGs in Ghana.


In brief, the results indicate that 73% of the 37 MDG indicators for Ghana were either achieved or could show significant progress. Ghana did not achieve MDG 4 and MDG 5 due to the slow progress it made in improving child and maternal health. The study indicates that key investments need to be made in the health sector, especially in the areas of access to good quality care, to narrow gaps in access and financing.


Reducing maternal and child mortality in Ghana will require transforming the sectors that drive development, such as energy, agriculture and transportation. It is expected that the lessons learnt will enhance evidence-based policy-making towards achieving the SDGs in Ghana.


Millennium Development Goals 



This study received no funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017
corrected publication January/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics Division, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)University of GhanaAccraGhana
  2. 2.Social Division, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)University of GhanaAccraGhana

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