Women march for improved maternal healthcare

Some women in the Agona West Municipality and Agona East District in the Central Region have marched through the principal streets of their respective district capitals to demand improved medical services at hospitals in the area.

The march was organised by the Young and Lonely Foundation (YLF) with support from the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), as part of a STAR-Ghana funded project, to call for improved services from health workers and other stakeholders in both districts.

At Agona Swedru, the march began from Texaco and ended at the Swedru Government Hospital, where a petition was presented to the hospital authorities while that of Agona Nsaba started from the main town through the Methodist Church road and ended at the Nsaba Health Centre. Placards

The women held placards during the march to press home their demand for better maternal health care with inscriptions such as ‘No maternal death”, ‘we need our babies alive”, ‘Zero tolerance for maternal death”,’Young nurses have compassion on us”, ‘Fully implement the patient’s charter”.

The rest were ‘reach MDG 5 by 2015”, ‘maternal deaths, a concern for all”, ‘basic health care: it’s our right” and ‘improve quality of maternal health care now’. Petition 

In a two-page petition presented to authorities of both health facilities, the women complained about some payments made by expectant mothers at health facilities even with the implementation of the Free Maternal Health Care Initiative (FMHCI), the attitude of health workers towards pregnant women who visited the health centres, the lack of knowledge of the patient’s right charter and the lack of laboratory services at the Nsaba Health Centre and said these were some of the problems that discouraged women from seeking medical services at the centres. Recommendations 

They recommended greater efforts by stakeholders towards strengthening the Free Maternal Health Care Initiative, increasing sensitisation and awareness of the patient’s charter.

They also appealed to the government to increase staff strength at the health facilities to enable them to effectively cater for the increasing number of women who seek maternal health care, as well as the construction of roads to improve access to health facilities in both districts. YLF Executive Director

The Executive Director of YLF, Mr Gilbert Germain, in an interview with the Daily Graphic after the march said his outfit had been working to promote maternal health care in both districts since 2008, and indicated that interventions by STAR-Ghana and its partners were essential since without their contributions, government alone could not work to meet the said target. 

He appealed to the government to increase budgetary allocation to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) so that the service would be in a position to roll out programmes that would help improve maternal health care, especially in deprived communities across the country.

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