The Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment (RISE-Ghana), an advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation, has begun a project to work with relevant stakeholders to improve the quality of maternal health service delivery in the Upper East Region.
The three-year project dubbed, “STAR-Ghana Gender Rights and Empowerment Project (G-REP) would be implemented in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts with the aim to influence quality, access and financing of maternal health service.
It is being funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and would work with stakeholders to strengthen facility health committees, citizens and civil society organisations to champion maternal issues for quality improvement.
At the sidelines of a training workshop for some selected journalists as part of the implementation of the project held in Bolgatanga, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, the Executive Director, RISE-Ghana, explained that access to maternal health service and its financing in the two districts were poor.
Apart from that, he said, the country’s agenda of achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals were under threat and underscored the need to prioritise and improve healthcare delivery systems, especially at the health facility level for improved maternal health.
To this end, he said, the project sought to mobilise women, girls and citizen groups, including civil society organisations and the media to champion issues of maternal health financing and policy implementation to ensure that the service provided at the healthcare facilities were quality and accessible.
“Unfortunately, due to lack of infrastructure and poor financing in this area, majority of adolescent mothers and women in general are not able to access the services that they need,” he added.
He explained that apart from strengthening health facility committees to use the scorecards to identify challenges confronting effective maternal health service delivery, the project would encourage community participation to help build strong health systems.
He said results from the scorecards would be used to draw actionable plans and proposals while influencing decision making of relevant stakeholders including the District Assemblies for improved financing and access.
“The committees will engage the district assemblies so that they will incorporate these plans and proposals into their medium term development plans, so that at the end of the day the quality of services and infrastructure at the health facility level in the two districts will be improved.
“We are hoping that at the end of this three-year project, the level at which health workers are able to prevent infections at the facility level would be improved and the quality of life of our mothers particularly adolescents and new mothers will be improved,” he said.
The Executive Director said most of the health facilities in the districts did not have standard Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities and urged the Assemblies to engage the private sector to help address the challenges and improve health service delivery.