The Mother Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative project (MBFHI) being piloted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in four districts of the Upper East Region is improving maternal health care delivery and newborn care.

The Districts are the Bongo, Kassena Nankana West Districts, Bolgatanga and Bawku Municipalities.

Dr Patrick Aboagye, the Director of Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said this in an address read on his behalf by the National Focal Person for the MBFHI, Mr Emmanuel Ayire Adongo, at a stakeholders meeting held in Bolgatanga.

He said the project was using the World Health Organization’s (WHO) nine standards of care and the MBFHI standards to ensure quality health care.

“We have the Breastfeeding Health Initiative (BFHI), which has been fused together with the MBFHI to make sure that we provide quality care to mothers and babies, and making the facilities friendlier to families,” he said.

Dr Aboagye said besides the quality improvement intervention which included quick fixes at the Health Centres, the GHS was working with a private investor, Tech-Valley, to use mobile phones to provide quality and validated health messages to the Ghanaian populace.

“Once you subscribe to 1880 as an expectant mother, and indicate the gestation period of the pregnancy, you will receive timed messages according to the growth of the foetus, what you need to do, the health services that you are supposed to get at the health facility, reminders on diet, the danger signs to expect, how to manage them and when to go to the health facility,” he said.

He said those with babies could also subscribe to the same code, with the indication “baby” and the age of the baby. “Supposing the baby is one week old, you will text C one, and receive messages according to the age of the child,” he added.

He said the messages would inform subscribed mothers on immunization and exclusive breastfeeding as well.

However, Dr Aboagye said some people were abusing the system by sending messages claiming to be Child Health messages that did not originate from the GHS, and called on Telecommunication Companies to avoid working on health care messages with companies apart from Tech-Valley, which was into a Private Partnership intervention with the GHS and had been given the approval to work on health care messages.

He further disclosed that UNICEF was bearing the cost of the text messages, and cautioned the general public not to entertain messages which did not originate from the GHS.

Whilst commending the participants who attended the programme including nurses, midwives, Health Information and Health Promotion Officers and Public Health Officers for working hard to ensure the success of the project, he impressed upon them to continue with their good work.

The four years project is being supported by UNICEF in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).



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