CRS intervention impacts positively on Northern Ghana

An initiative by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the East Mamprusi district of the Northern Region has impacted positively on the reduction of maternal, child morbidity and mortality cases in the area.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded-project dubbed, “Encouraging Positive Practices for Improving Child Survival” commenced three years ago in 240 communities in the district.

About 120,000 people are currently benefiting from the project through targeted support for 11 health facilities in the area which are some of the deprived districts in the region.

For instance, the number of mothers who registered for antenatal care increased from a baseline of 52 per cent to 97 per cent. Mothers receiving four or more antenatal visits also increased from 47.7 per cent to 71.2 per cent. 

In addition, preventive treatment against malaria increased from 59 per cent to 77.8 per cent while institutional deliveries also improved from 43 per cent baseline to 79.3 per cent. Other areas were  breastfeeding that increased from 46 per cent to 89 per cent while postnatal care also improved from 32 per cent to 84.5 per cent.

The country representative of CRS Ghana, Lisa Washington-Sow, who announced this at the launch of another initiative at Walewale in the West Mamprusi district, added that, “under the same project, CRS with the support of Water Access Now, provided boreholes to 11 health facilities to improve access to water at those centres and their host communities.”

The two new programmes are the Integrated Sanitation, Hygiene and Nutrition for Education Project (I-SHINE), as well as the Rural Emergency Health Service and Transport Project (REST).  They are both funded by Helmsley Charitable Trust of America. 

She described them as complementary initiatives that would be undertaken in six districts. The beneficiary areas are West and East Mamprusi, Mamprugu-Moaduri in the Northern Region. 

The other districts are Kasena Nankana West, Talensi and Nabdam in the Upper East Region. The three-year programme is expected to help improve on the health situation of over one million people in those communities.

She mentioned the beneficiaries  to include schoolchildren between the ages of eight and 18 and emphasised that, “CRS is concerned about water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and bilharzia infestations.”

According to Ms Lisa, “available statistics indicate that sanitation coverage is alarmingly low across the Northern Region which has only 3.0 per cent and the Upper East Region with 5.2 per cent as compared to the national average of 15 per cent. “

Under the REST, the project would increase community knowledge of maternal and child health practices, improve access to healthcare services for women and children and the capacity of health facilities to provide quality health care.

A deputy Minister of Health, Dr Tia Sugre Alfred, acknowledged the enormous challenges facing his outfit but indicated government’s willingness to improve access, service quality, increase personnel and enhance working conditions for the workers.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Muniru Limuna, expressed appreciation to the benefactors for their continuous support for the area over the years and pledged the cooperation and support of the Regional Coordinating Council to the success of the projects.

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