Star Ghana initiates measures to improve maternal and child healthcare services

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Star Ghana Foundation (SGF), in partnership with Community Development Alliance (CDA), have initiated a process to address the impact of COVID-19 on access to quality maternal and Child Healthcare Services (MCHS) in two municipalities in the Upper West Region.

The DFID provided funding support for the three-month pilot project dubbed: “COVID-19 Response, Relief, and Recovery Initiative” to be implemented from March to June 2021, which would benefit ten communities in the Lawra and Wa Municipalities.

Mr Salifu Issifu Kanton, the Executive Director of CDA, said this at a meeting with health staff from the Regional Health Directorate and the beneficiary municipalities in Wa at the weekend.

“The project seeks to create demand and increase access to maternal and child healthcare services including skilled delivery, breastfeeding, ANC, PNC in the two municipalities.

It also seeks to address issues of adolescent SRH in the selected communities”, he said.

Mr Kanton said the project became necessary due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on MCHS delivery.
He noted that MCHS saw a decline in the beneficiary municipalities, particularly during the COVID-19 period in 2020, hence the decision to implement the pilot project in those municipalities.

Data from the Lawra Municipal Health Directorate indicated that the municipality recorded an increase in women delivering at home from six in 2019 to 18 in 2020, partly due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

“We seek to identify the cause of the poor performance of the maternal and child healthcare indicators and to complement the efforts of the Ghana Health Service to address these issues to accelerate the country’s effort towards realizing the SDG 3, which seeks to ensure good health and wellbeing for all”, Mr Kanton explained.

He said the project was expected to, among other things, promote a patient-led advocacy action for the provision of MCHS in a patient-friendly health facility.

Dr. Damien Punguyire, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, urged health service providers to “reorient themselves and establish a positive attitude towards clients to make sure that the interventions lead to reliable results”.

He said there was a gap in the service delivery that led pregnant women to resort to seeking services from Traditional Birth Attendants and urged health personnel to fill that gap to attract pregnant women to the facilities.

Talking on COVID-19, Dr Punguyire said plans were far advanced to vaccinate health staff in the region from next week, both private and public, urging the health personnel to avail themselves for the exercise.

He entreated them to disregard rumours regarding the side effects of the vaccine, saying, “the advantages of taking the vaccine outweigh any disadvantage”.

He noted that in the region, more than 90 health personnel had contracted the virus, but added that none of the affected staff died of the virus.

Some tentative strategies the two municipalities had employed to improve maternal and child healthcare service delivery included; community engagement in service delivery, incentives for males who assisted their wives to access services, involving community healthcare workers, and introducing Child Welfare Clinics in pre-schools among others.

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