Dr. Ama Pokuaa Fenny

Dr. Ama Pokuaa Fenny
Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Ama Pokuaa Fenny is a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economics Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana. She is a health economist whose research focuses on the evaluation of health and development programs in low- and middle-income country settings. In these settings, she studies the role of health financing strategies in offering social protection to vulnerable groups, targeted health system strategies to improve health seeking behavior and costing and cost-effectiveness methods that address efficiency of health programmes. Her current research focuses on the evaluation of child and adolescent health interventions and the integration of governmental policies into service delivery systems in Africa. At ISSER, Dr. Fenny provides leadership and oversight to projects involving research, project implementation, technical assistance and policy advocacy across a range of subjects.

She has several years of practical experience; lending her technical expertise to the Ministry of Health in Ghana and several other national and international agencies. She has also carried out a number of costing, expenditure tracking surveys and health expenditure reviews with country experience across West and East Africa (Gambia, Liberia, Eriteria, Mozambique among others). In 2016, she was accepted as a West Africa Global Health Leaders Fellow, with the Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House. Her research with the centre focused on how the poor could be integrated into social health insurance programs in Sub Saharan African countries. Subsequently, she has been engaged actively in the development of strategies to improve health systems performance and governance to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Ghana. In 2020, she served as a member of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) Commission which was responsible for creating a comprehensive report on the State of UHC in Africa. She has a PhD in Health Economics from the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark and an MSc in Health, Population & Society from the London School of Economics & Political Science (UK).

  • Health systems and policy
  • Health financing
  • Quality of care
  • Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Gender and development
  1. Hollingworth, S., Fenny, A.P., Yu, SY. et al. Health technology assessment in sub-Saharan Africa: a descriptive analysis and narrative synthesis. Cost Eff Resour Alloc 19, 39 (2021). http://sci-hub.tw/10.1186/s12962-021-00293-5
  1. Asuman D, Fenny AP, Anyamesem Odame DN. Trends and antecedents of inequalities in maternal healthcare coverage in four African countries. J. Int. Dev. 2021; 33:515–544. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3534
  1. Ama P. Fenny, Robert Yates & Rachel Thompson (2021) Strategies for financing social health insurance schemes for providing universal health care: a comparative analysis of five countries, Global Health Action, 14:1, DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2020.1868054
  1. Fenny, A.P., Otieku, E., Labi, K.A. et al. (2021) Costs and Extra Length of Stay because of Neonatal Bloodstream Infection at a Teaching Hospital in Ghana. PharmacoEconomics - Open, 5(1), 111-120. Available from: URL: https://doi.org /10.1007/s41669-020-00230-x
  1. Fenny AP, Otieku E, Akufo C, Obeng-Nkrumah N, Asante FA, Enemark U. (2020) The Financial Impact of Puerperal Infections On Patients, Carers and Public Hospitals in Two Regions in Ghana. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics (IF 2.216) Pub Date: 2020-12-04, DOI: 10.1002/ijgo.13509
  1. Jimah, T., A. P. Fenny, and O.A. Ogunseitan. (2020) Antibiotics stewardship in Ghana: a cross-sectional study of public knowledge, attitudes, and practices among communities. One Health Outlook 2, 12 (2020). http://sci-hub.tw/10.1186/s42522-020-00021-8
  1. Fenny A.P., Asante FA, Otieku E, Bediako-Bowan A, Enemark U (2020), Attributable Cost and Extra Length of Stay of Surgical Site Infection at a Ghanaian Teaching Hospital, Infection Prevention in Practice, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infpip.2020.100045
  1. Crentsil A.O., Asuman D., Fenny A.P, (2019) " Assessing the determinants and drivers of multidimensional energy poverty in Ghana", Energy Policy, Volume 133, October 2019, 110884, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2019.110884
  1. Asuman D., Ackah, C.G., Fenny, A.P. F. Agyire-Tettey (2019) “Assessing socioeconomic inequalities in the reduction of child stunting in sub-Saharan Africa”.  Journal of Public Health (Berl.) https://doi.org/ 10.1007/s10389-019-01068-2.
  1. Alvarado G, Fenny A. P, Dakey S, Mueller J. L, O'Brien-Milne L, Crentsil O. A, Duvvury N, Scriver S, Schwenke C, (2018) "The health-related impacts and costs of violence against women and girls on survivors, households and communities in Ghana”. Journal of Public Health in Africa. 9(860), https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2018.860
  1. Fenny A.P, Asuman D., Crentsil A.O., Odame D.N.A, (2018) "Trends and causes of socioeconomic inequalities in maternal healthcare in Ghana, 2003–2014", International Journal of Social Economics, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-03-2018-0148
  1. Kusi A., Fenny A.P., Arhinful D.K., Asante A.F., Parmar D., (2018) "Determinants of enrolment in the NHIS for women in Ghana – a cross sectional study", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 45 Issue: 9, pp.1318-1334, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-10-2016-0291
  1. Fenny, A. P., Yates, R., & Thompson, R. (2018). Social health insurance schemes in Africa leave out the poor. International Health. doi:10.1093/inthealth/ihx046
  1. Fenny, A., Crentsil, A., & Ackah, C. (2017). The health MDGs in Ghana: lessons and implications for the implementation of the sustainable development goals. Journal of Public Health, 26(2), 225-234. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10389-017-0854-8
  1. Fenny, A. P., Crentsil A.O., & Asuman D. (2017). Determinants and Distribution of Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Knowledge in Ghana. Global Journal of Health Science, 9(12). doi.org/10.5539/gjhs. v9n12p32
  1. Dushie D., Fenny, A.P. & Crentsil, A.O. (2017) Vehicular Emissions and Its Implications on the Health of Traders: A Case Study of Traders in La Nkwantanang Municipality in Ghana. Journal of Sustainable Development; 10(6) doi.org/ 1913-9063
  1. Fenny, A. P. (2017). Ghana’s Path to an Industrial–Led Growth: The Role of Decentralisation Policies. International Journal of Economics and Finance, 9(11). doi.org/10.5539/ijef. v9n11p22
  1. Fenny, A.P., 2017, ‘Live to 70 Years and Over or Suffer in Silence: Understanding Health Insurance Status Among the Elderly Under the NHIS in Ghana’, Journal of Aging & Social Policy Vol. 29, Iss. 4, 352-370 DOI: 10.1080/08959420.2017.1328919
  1. Fenny, A.P., Kusi, A, Arhinful, D.K & Asante, F.A. 2016, ‘Factors contributing to low uptake and renewal of health insurance: a qualitative study in Ghana’, Global Health Research and Policy, 2016, DOI: 10.1186/s41256-016-0018-3 F
  1. Fenny, A.P., Asante, F.A., Arhinful, D.K., Kusi, A., Parmar, and Williams, G. 2016, ‘Who uses outpatient healthcare services under Ghana’s health protection scheme and why? BMC Health Services Research, 16: 174 DOI: 10.1186/s12913-016-1429-z

Book Chapters

  1. Atim, C. A. P. Fenny, M. Achala, & J. E. Ataguba (2021). The Nexus Between Behavioral and Health Economics in the Universal Health Coverage Research Agenda. In D. F. Ragin, J. P. Keenan (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methods in Health Psychology (1st ed., pp. 376–392). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429488320
  1. Ama Pokuaa Fenny and Patricia Ohenewaa Akuffo-Henaku (2021) Malaria Control in Ghana: Past, Present and Future Perspectives. In Edward Nketiah-Amponsah, Oluwatoyin A. Odeku (Eds) Contemporary Healthcare Issues in Sub-Saharan Africa: Social, Economic, and Cultural Perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ISBN-13: 9781793633699
  1. Gina Alvarado Merino, Stacey Scriver, Jennifer L. Mueller, Lila O’Brien-Milne, Ama P. Fenny and Nata Duvvury (2019) “Public Health in Developing Countries - Challenges and Opportunities. Chapter 4: The Health and Economic Costs of Violence against Women and Girls on Survivors, Their Families, and Communities in Ghana”. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.88690
  1. Gideon L. Puplampu, Ama Fenny, Gwendolyn Mensah (2019) “Consumers and Consumer Behaviour” In book: Health Service Marketing Management in Africa. DOI: 10.4324/9780429400858-6
  1. The Economy of Ghana Sixty Years after Independence/ edited by Ernest Aryeetey and Ravi Kanbur. Chapter 4: Economic Growth in Ghana Trends and Structure, 1960–2014 /Ernest Aryeetey and Ama Pokuaa Fenny. Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017 ISBN-13: 9780198753438

Implementing smartphone app technology for screening jaundiced newborns at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital

About 60% of all newborn infants will develop neonatal jaundice in the first week after birth. In most newborns, jaundice is physiological and clears spontaneously over the first few days, but a significant proportion will require treatment to avoid a persistently high level of bilirubin (hyperbilirubinaemia). Severe hyperbiliribinaemia may lead to brain damage (kernicterus), death and lifelong impairment. It is the most significant and preventable risk factor for cerebral palsy in Ghana. These complications of hyperbiliribinaemia are largely preventable with effective screening to achieve timely diagnosis and treatment. Subjective visual inspection of the eye and skin is the standard screening process in low-resource countries, but it is confounded by skin pigmentation and ambient light, and is particularly difficult for untrained individuals such as community health workers and parents. High-income countries recommend against relying solely on visual identification for diagnosis of neonatal jaundice. Available screening methods are expensive, invasive, and not usually accessible at the point of care in low-resource settings. Affordable, portable and reliable tools for screening newborns for jaundice are needed to tackle the burden of death and disability from neonatal jaundice.

The overall aim of the project is to develop a smartphone app for screening jaundiced newborns. The specific objectives of this study are to systematically assess the implementation of the smartphone app into routine clinical practice at the postnatal ward of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the smartphone app screening tool in clinical practice.

Duration: (2020 - 2021)

Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Ama Pokuaa Fenny

Fiscal and Public Health Impact of a Change in Tobacco Excise Taxes in Ghana

In Ghana, more than 5,000 people are killed by tobacco-caused diseases every year (Tobacco Atlas, 2018). Currently, the country’s tax administration approach is unitary with a uniform ad valorem tax structure on all excisable products including tobacco. However, the ECOWAS directive on tobacco control in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), recommends a simple tax structure using a mixed excise system with a minimum specific tax floor, to overcome the large limitations of the ad valorem system on tobacco products especially cigarettes. The study therefore simulates mixed tax policy interventions and assesses its effect on government revenue and public health relative to the current ad valorem tax system. The study provided evidence-based analysis of tobacco taxation in Ghana. The main research theme addressed best practices in tobacco taxation centering on the impact of tobacco tax increases on the retail price of tobacco products, tobacco consumption and government tax revenue.

Duration: (2019-2020)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ama Pokuaa Fenny

Costing of Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) and Cost-Effectiveness of HCAI Control Interventions in Ghana

Healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) pose a constant threat not only to patients, their families and healthcare systems but also to society as a whole. Apart from contributing to increased mortality they add substantially to hospital costs. Very few studies estimate the excess cost of HCAI in developing countries with the majority of these studies found in Latin America. To date, there has been no costing of HCAIs in Ghana. The costing study which is part of larger HCAI study will be conducted in three phases with two stages of data collection within each phase. Phase 1 will involve the costing of Surgical Site Infections (SSI) and interventions. Phase 2 will involve the costing of neonatal sepsis and interventions, while Phase 3 will involve the costing of puerperal sepsis and interventions. In each of these phases, two sets of data collection exercises will be undertaken; one at the baseline and then an endline survey after the intervention has taken place. The aim of this study is to measure the direct, indirect and opportunity costs associated with HCAIs and HCAI control interventions in Ghana. These infections include Surgical site infections, neonatal and puerperal sepsis.

Duration: (2016 - 2021)

Principal Investigator: Dr Ama Pokuaa Fenny