SEND-GHANA, in collaboration with Christian Aid, both non-governmental organisations, has inaugurated 21 Community Maternal Health Champions (CMHCs) for seven districts of the Upper East Region.

DSC_0053The beneficiary districts are Bawku and Bolgatanga municipalities, Bawku West, Kassena Nankana West,Talensi, Builsa and Garu-Tempane districts.

The CMHCs are to help effectively sensitise chiefs, opinion leaders, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and community members to maternal health issues that will ultimately improve on maternal healthcare delivery in the beneficiary districts.

Sensitisation

As part of the sensitisation, members of the group would use education and communication materials such as flip charts and posters depicting maternal health issues to educate the communities.

It is also envisaged that the initiative, which is being funded by the European Union (EU), will in the long term, accelerate the country’s quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goal five (MDG5) which relates to reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health.

Inaugurating the CMHCs after a two-day training workshop for the groups in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Deputy Director of Nursing Services of the Ghana Health Service, Madam Olivia Achuliba, expressed concern about maternal health challenges facing the region, which had led to an increase in recorded cases of maternal death over the years.

According to her, in 2010, the region recorded 34 maternal deaths at its health facilities, 37 in 2011, while it recorded 38 in 2012, 34 in 2013 and 47 in 2014.

Causes of maternal deaths

Madam Achuliba pointed out that most of the maternal deaths were as a result of haemorrhage, anaemia, severe malaria, and hypertension, among other illnesses.
She, therefore, stressed the need for the CMHCs to encourage pregnant women to regularly visit health facilities to assess their health status.

“When you go on your rounds and you find out that some pregnant women look pale, immediately educate them or advise them, including their relatives and husbands to see the need to patronise the health facilities to further reduce deaths among pregnant women,” she intimated.

The Upper East Programmes Officer of SEND-GHANA, Madam Rachel Gyabaah, mentioned obstetric newborn care, family planning and skilled delivery services as some of the key areas to be studied by the group on their educational campaigns.

MDG Goal Five

“Looking at the MDG Goal Five, it appears time is already running out for the country in achieving it, hence efforts must be made to redouble efforts at addressing maternal health issues and we hope to sustain this initiative,” she stressed.

The Director of Policy Advocacy Programmes of SEND-GHANA, Madam Clara Osei-Boateng, noted that the programme would be sustainable because it was designed to make use of volunteers and ordinary citizens within the beneficiary districts who could ensure that at every social gathering, people were educated to ensure sound maternal health practices.

Relevance of workshop

Some of the CMHC members who spoke to the Daily Graphic after the inauguration, said the training workshop was an eye opener to them because it would enable them to appreciate further the enormity of the maternal health issue in the Upper East Region and how best to use educational materials to drum home the message.

The participants were later presented with materials to support their educational campaign in the communities.

The training forms part of European Commission (EU) funded ?Improving Maternal Health Service Delivery through Participatory Governance (IMPROVE)? project being implemented by Christian Aid and SEND-GHANA.

The project is being implemented in 30 districts across Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions is in collaboration with Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Source-graphic.com.gh

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