The Mother-Baby-Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI) project being piloted in forty-two communities in the Bongo District has led to increased visits to antenatal and postnatal care at health facilities.
Whilst the Integrated Youth Needs and Welfare (INTYON) in partnership with the Ghana Health Services (GHS) is implementing the pilot phase of the project in the Bongo District, the two-year project is also being piloted by other partners and the Ghana Health
Service in the Kassena-Nankana West District, the Bawku and Bolgatanga Municipalities.
Mr Isaac Adabre, the Head of GHS in charge of the Bongo-Soe Sub-District, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency, attributed the high turnouts of antenatal services and delivery at health facilities to the sensitization programmes, drama, focus group discussions, advocacy and community durbars initiated by INTYON.
Mr Adabre lauded the effort of the NGO for supporting the GHS to implement the project and paid tribute to UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for committing financial support to the implementation of the project.
He, however, appealed to UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help scale up the project to the remaining 100 communities in the District.
Chief Issah Ibrahim, the Executive Director of INTYON, said the communities are empowered to tease out pertinent health issues from focus group discussions and fuse them into drama and perform at community durbars to draw the attention of duty bearers such as health workers and the district assemblies as well as traditional rulers to address their health concerns.
He recalled an instance where one of the communities put up drama performance on the negative attitudes of nurses at a health facility at a durbar which later led to the reformation of attitude of the nurses there towards clients.
He said his outfit was adopting various interventions including advocacy and focus group discussions as well as drama to ensure increased demand for ante-natal and post-natal services, early initiation to breast feeding within 30 minutes after birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended six months and promoting basic new-born care.
Mr Ibrahim said “advocacy and sensitization programmes targeting traditional rulers, mothers of new born babies, pregnant women, husbands, mothers-in-law, community and religious leaders are making greater impact in the communities as many husbands now accompany their wives to deliver at health centres”.
He said there is the need to upscale the project to the remaining communities in the District so as to help fast-track the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals of reducing maternal and neonatal deaths.