EPPICS projects contributes in reducing maternal mortality

By
Kodjo Adams, GNA

Accra, Sept. 9 GNA –
The Encouraging Positive Practice for Improving Child Survival (EPPICS)
project, launched in the Northern Region has contributed significantly in
reducing the high rate of maternal mortality and morbidity in the East Mamprusi
District.

Through the project,
maternal mortality rate had decreased from 275/100,000 live births to
57/100,000 live births.

Still birth rate had
also declined from 2.8/1,000 live births to 1.7/1,000 live births, while infant
mortality rate dropped from 62/1,000 live births to 14/1,000 live births.

The Catholic Relief
Services (CRS) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the
University for Development Studies funded by the USAID designed a four-year
project to help reduce the high rate of maternal mortality and morbidity among
women of reproductive age in the East Mamprusi District of the Northern Region.

Mr Mohammed Ali,
Health Programme Manager for CRS speaking at the end of the project in Accra,
said results from October 2011 to December 2014 showed that the number of
mothers who registered for antenatal care increased from 80 per cent to 99 per
cent.

He said the results
revealed that women who attended at least four antenatal care visits increased
from 48 per cent to 63 per cent while skilled assisted deliveries increased
from 43 per cent to 97 per cent.

Exclusive
breastfeeding increased from 43 per cent to 94 per cent and early postnatal
care within first week of life improved from 32 per cent to 69 per cent.

Mr Ali said despite
national strides to strengthen health services, maternal and infant mortality
and illness remain high in the Northern Region than the rest of the country.

He said the GHS and
their health partners are working to implement high-impact, evidence-based
interventions to address these concerns.

“Despite these
efforts by the GHS, there are still gaps at the community and household levels
in accessing health services due to challenges such as overcoming harmful
cultural practices, poor transportation system and late referral for
emergencies”, he added.

Mr Ali explained
that the project combines both facility and community-based approaches to reach
a target of more than 51,000 people comprising 27,000 women of reproductive age
and 24,000 children under-five-years in 240 communities.

He said the project
focus on three technical areas, namely maternal and new-born care 60 per cent,
maternal and child nutrition 30 per cent and malaria and pregnancy 10 per cent.

Mr Ali said the
project encouraged traditional birth attendants to refer pregnant women to
health facilities so mothers can benefit from prenatal and other services.

The project also
supports the formation of mother-to-mother support groups to promote antenatal
services, health centre deliveries and exclusive breastfeeding.

He said at the end
of the programme, the project has helped to improve the health information
system of the GHS through training health officers in the use of iPads to
ensure accurate and timely submission of data.

Madam Akua
Kwateng-Addo, the Health Office Director, USAID Ghana said her outfit funded
the project to increased access to quality integrated health services,
availability of community-based health resources, strengthen health systems,
and improve governance and accountability in the health sector.

She expressed
satisfaction to invest in the project which contributed in building the
capacity of Ghanaian communities and the GHS to address maternal and child
health challenges in the District, hoping that lessons learnt through the
project would benefit other districts in the country.

Mr Kris Ozar,
Country Representative of CRS said the partnership with the stakeholders has
equipped participants with the knowledge and skills to serve as agents for
change in their own communities with excellent results.

GNA

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