An intervention carried out by Oxfam and its partners, including the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA) in selected communities in the Upper East Region has led to an increase in facility deliveries of babies under the supervision of skilled personnel and improved maternal care.
Working in collaboration with PARDA, Oxfam started the maternal health project in March 2011 with the first phase ending in March 2012. The project is currently running on a second phase and will continue till March 2013.
Six communities in three districts of the region are implementing the project with the intention to complement the work of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to reduce maternal mortality.
The communities are Sapeliga and Tanga in the Bawku-West District; Sumbrungu and Zuruangu in the Bolgatanga Municipality; and Naaga and Gia in the Kassena-Nankana District. Available statistics indicates that in 2010, Sapeliga recorded 329 skilled deliveries but in 2011, the figure increased to 355. In Tanga/Timonde, for 2010, skiled delivery was 24 but increased to 156 in 2011.
In Zuarungu, skilled deliveries increased from 188 in the year 2010 to 191 in the year 2011; while Sumbrungu, skilled delivery shot up to 245 recorded in 2011 from 154 in 2010.
For Naaga/Kolgo and Wuru/Gia, skilled deliveries for 2010 were 77 and 17 respectively but the figure increased to 91 and 78 in the year 2011.
The Director of PARDA, Mr Michael Wombeogo, announced this during a field visit by the West African Regional Director of OXFAM, Mr Mamadou Biteye. The visit was to monitor the progress of the intervention, share experiences and chart a way forward.
Mr Wombeogo said the main aim of the project was to add value to maternal and child health care and services in the target communities.
He said through the intervention, well established Traditional Births Attendants (TBAs) and Community Health Committees (CHCs) systems have been put in place and the personnel work effectively with officials at the various health centres to ensure long term support in health care delivery.
He added that there was more community involvement and ownership of the process to promote a high sense of community ownership, as well as commitment from the traditional authorities in promoting maternal healthcare in the respective communities.
Touching on some of the success stories in the focal communities, Mr Wombeogo said Community Health Committees (CHSs) in Tanga successfully lobbied for the construction of a borehole for the Tanga Health Centre through the District Assembly. He said the CHSs have also been able to lobby for the setting up of a labour room and the provision of a skilled birth attendant to commence skilled deliveries in the Tanga Health Centre.
He said in Sapeliga, the CHC with the help of the Sapeliga Health Centre had successfully lobbied for the full support of the traditional authorities in promoting antenatal care and overall maternal healthcare.
Mr Wombeogo stressed the need for more community involvement and ownership of the process to help further reduce maternal mortality in the focal communities.
“The communities should see the TBAs and CHCs and health centres as their own and help sustain their operations. Again, traditional authorities have a great role to play in ensuring the sustainability of the laid down structure even after the project officially phases out”, he said.
The West African Regional Director of Oxfam, Mr Mamadou Biteye, commended the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for their collaborative role in ensuring the success of the programme in the beneficiary communities.
He said Oxfam’s role was not to replace government in the delivery of health services but to complement whatever efforts were being made and therefore appealed to the GHS and community members to embrace the concept.
Mr Biteye, who is based in Senegal, also visited Nalerigu in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region where he interacted with another project implementation partner, Partners in Rural Empowerment and Development (PARED).
PARED with support from OXFAM is implementing three projects, namely: Integrated Livelihood Programme, the Food and Agriculture Recovery Management Project and the Enhanced Livelihood Conservation Agriculture Project.
During an interaction with the farmers at Sumnibomah, Mr Biteye was informed that as a result of the support from OXFAM through PARED, there had been an increase in yields.
One female community member, Safura Mahamadu, said gender discrimination had reduced significantly since women in the community had been empowered and involved in the decision making process in the village, under OXFAM’s intervention.
A farmer, Mr Sibiri Gumah, said OXFAM had made a significant impact in the area, adding that through the provision of bullock, donkey and carts, which were used in land tilling and carting of goods form the farm to the marketing centres, yields increased at the end of the farming season.
Source: Daily Graphic