The Essamang Community-Based Health and Planning Services (CHPS), compound, near Daboase in the Wassa West District of the Western region, lacks basic logistics and medical supplies including pain killers, and folic acid for pregnant women.

Although the community is fortunate to have a CHPS compound with a stationed Principal Midwife, Staff and Community nurses, its effective operation is being frustrated by the non-availability of primary medicines (Paracetamol, folic acid) and basic supplies like disinfectants and hand gloves for patient’s care as well as ensure the occupational health safety of the staff.

A routine monitoring visit by a team from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to the facility, however, observed that despite the difficulties being faced working under such constrained environment, Mr Isaac Nyamekye, the Principal Midwife at the Centre, together with his Staff and Community nurses were respectively doing well with their improvised tools.

Mr Nyamekye said working under such threatening conditions was frustrating, and called on the Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders to come to their aid to ensure Universal Access to quality health care delivery.

The facility currently provides a wide range of public health services including 24-hour clinical and emergency, maternity and antenatal care, nutrition and child healthcare, as well as disease control, to clients beyond Essamang to about 20 surrounding communities, and “as such, we need enhanced support to be able to effectively operate at full capacity,” he said.

Mr Nyamekye was at the time of the visit, attending to a patient with a fresh wound apparently sustained while working on his farm, and had been brought to the centre bleeding profusely, but the health officer managed to skilfully arrest the situation, but did not have any gauze or bandage for dressing.

He explained that the situation was one of the difficult tasks he and his team had to endure on regular basis because the Centre was sited in a predominantly farming community and that such hazards were frequent occurrences.

He complained about lack of privacy for patients, lack of water and the poor lighting system in the community, which made their work difficult, mostly at night.

“Again, majority of the pregnant women especially teenagers, who come to deliver at the facility are often referred to either the Daboase or Ahamadyia Health Centres respectively because they cannot go through normal delivery, and need caesarean sections due to their ages,” he said.

Mr Nyamekye emphasised the importance of resourcing the Centre and further upgrading its infrastructure to address the growing needs of the community and its environs.

He, however, attested to the fact that there had been a positive reduction in teenage pregnancy recorded in the facility, compared to the past year, and attributed this the implementation of the Adolescents Health and Development Programme initiated by the GHS, with support from the UNFPA.

The institution of Adolescent Health Clubs at both school and the community levels, to provide Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) messages, information on Adolescent Sexual Health including Family Planning, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and personal hygiene, targeted at both old and younger persons, had been a major contributor to reducing the high burden of teenage pregnancies in the region, he said.

He said the school clubs consisted of children between the ages of 10 to 14 years, and from 15 to 19 years and above, with the massive support of heads teachers, the staff, as well as parents who were engaged during Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings.

“We often liaise with opinion leaders and chiefs to solicit for their support in educating the people on the negative impacts of teenage pregnancies on the individual, families and the community”.

Mr Nyamekye noted that as a result of the enhanced knowledge patronage of Family Planning, especially among adolescents has gone up, but still not encouraging, adding that averagely, outpatient attendance per day at the facility was 15 patients, but it had increased to more than 30 patients in recent times.

He said there were also testimonies of reformed children who had previously displayed truant in school, and that with the current education and advocacy more pregnant girls and teenage mothers were being empowered to stay or return to school after or while still nursing their babies, and were receiving the tremendous support from both their heads, staff and classmates.

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