By D.I. Laary, GNA
Accra, Sept. 12, GNA – Concern World Wide (CWW), a charitable organisation working with poorest people to transform lives, has engaged stakeholders to discuss outcome of two projects that seek to promote quality healthcare service delivery to mothers and children.
The pilot projects implemented in Greater Accra, Volta and Upper West regions, recorded heightened motion among Community Health Nurses (CHN), rising numbers in exclusive breastfeeding practices, climbing deliveries at health facilities and antennal attendance.
The Community Benefits Health used health messaging and non-monetary incentives to cultivate communities’ commitment to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in Upper West Region.
The CWW’s innovations for maternal, newborn and child health created in October 2013, called care community hub led to improved health motivation, job satisfaction and knowledge of frontline health workers for better health service delivery.
“The innovation that we developed, ‘CHN on the Go,’ is a smartphone app designed for and by the nurses themselves to equip them in the field,” Mrs Dela Kokroko, Senior Programme Manager told reporters on the sideline of the meeting.
“We did not intend to directly reduce maternal or newborn death rates but rather to strengthen a health workforce that can do so in the long term,” she added.
The CHN on the Go app is made up of five modules and a WhatsApp, which help nurses to set, meet and track work targets.
It also helps the nurses to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat women and children, and at the same time, enable them take courses to increase their clinical knowledge and professional development.
Mr Kokroko explained that the nurses are able to access and share health information without carrying heavy reference materials, and also receive wellness tips.
She said a complementary supervisor’s app was also created to help supervisors track CHN and monitor their activities on the field.
On the Community Benefits Health, Mrs Kokroko said it the application of non-monetary incentives to get commitment of communities’ boosted MNCH Upper West – region with the highest levels of poverty.
The project was carried out between April 2014 and March 2016, and targeted 33 villages in six CHPS [Community-based Health Planning and Services] zones within Jirapa, Lambussie, and Wa West Districts.
Following the introduction of far-reaching behaviours change communication messages, Mrs Kokroko, said antennal care attendance soared with many men or husbands accompanying their pregnant wives to health facilities for primary services or deliveries.
She said exclusive breastfeeding practices until six months also rose considerably but raised concern that many women who have embraced the practice were challenged, particularly in the formal sector where maternity leave is pegged at three months.
“How realistic is it to do exclusive breastfeeding for six months when maternal leave for women is three months,” she quizzed.
She said 10 boreholes and two ambulances were provided to communities based on their felt needs that considerably led to mass improvement in quality health service delivery to MNCH.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Deputy Health Minister, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe noted that over the past 15 years, maternal mortality rate decreased from 570 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 380 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013.
The under-five mortality rate also decreased from 103 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012, he said.
Despite this progress, he noted that Ghana’s MNCH indicators were worse than those in other countries with similar socio-economic profiles and health care spending levels.
“Neonatal mortality is still around 32 deaths per 1, 000. Newborn deaths account for 40 per cent of under-five mortality in Ghana.
“This is why our hearts are filled with joy when we stood here two years ago when the Care Community Hub and Community Benefits Health project were launched.
“The uniqueness of these two projects lies in their balanced approach to improving maternal and child health by addressing both the demand and supply side barriers.”
He urged the stakeholders continue working closely with government and development using innovative cost effective approaches to end needless preventable deaths of women, babies and children in the country.