Incidents of women suffering pregnancy-related deaths and children dying in their early years from diseases are said to have come to an end in some 120 communities in the Upper East Region.
For about three years since 2017, women and infants alike are reported to have lived through the same period often associated in the past with deaths related to births in those areas.
Development watchers have attributed the “major milestone” to the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Project implemented by the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA) in collaboration with Oxfam in Ghana between 2009 and 2017 in six among the region’s fifteen local government areas.
The project’s implementation team worked with twelve health centres in those six local government areas— Sapeliga Health Centre and Tanga Health Centre in the Bawku West District; Zuarungu Health Centre in the Bolgatanga East District and Sumbrungu Health Centre in the Bolgatanga Municipality.
The other facilities are: Gia Health Centre and Naaga Health Centre in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality; Kotintabig Health Centre, Sakoti Health Centre and Pelungu Health Centre in the Nabdam District as well as Duusi Health Centre, Gorigo Health Centre and Namoalogo Health Centre in the Talensi District.
PARDA and its partners are set to build on that result by replicating the project in the other areas of the region.
According to the PARDA’s Board Chairman, Dr Joseph Ayembilla, the project also brought about increase in antenatal care (ANC) turnout and skilled delivery through “community engagement among other interventions” and produced “improved information management systems due to the usage of the computers donated under the project”.
Dr Ayembilla added this information in a presentation he made during a multi-stakeholder meeting organised by PARDA and Oxfam in Ghana in the last week of March, 2021. The engagement brought health authorities and traditional figures to the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga, where participants reviewed the “strategies and best practices” deployed in the 120 communities and drew a fresh plan aimed at spreading the scheme to the other municipalities and districts in the region.
Project may be extended nationwide— Oxfam in Ghana
Speaking to the press from the sidelines of the meeting, the Oxfam in Ghana’s Programme Quality Manager, Abdul-Razak Mohammed, said the MCH Project possibly would be extended to the other regions in Ghana.
“PARDA is one of the partners that work with Oxfam in Ghana in the health sector. The project was to support the health systems in the districts in order to address maternal deaths in the region. With our support, they worked in some districts, providing logistical support, infrastructure, training and engaging actors in the health sector with the aim of supporting the midwives and other health workers with these logistics to be able to reduce maternal deaths.
“So, when the project ended in 2017, those communities have recorded zero maternal deaths for about three years since then. That project has made notable results and needs to be expanded to benefit other communities in the region and possibly to the other regions of the country. We have a mandate of supporting partners to influence processes that would help reduce poverty. Poverty can be manifested in different ways. We have health poverty in terms of lack of or inadequate facilities, in terms of diseases, in terms of maternal deaths. All are classified as aspects of poverty that we look at. It’s not just income poverty. You know, you need to be healthy before you can work,” said the Programme Quality Manager.
He added: “If we achieve any result in any community and other communities with similar issues have not benefited yet, Oxfam still doesn’t see it (the result) as an achievement yet. That is the purpose of today’s session.”
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region, Daily Mail GH