A Non Governmental Organization, Savana Signatures (Save Sign) has widened its scope to fight maternal and infant mortality by supporting 33 health facilities in the three northern and Volta regions with life saving equipment and a monthly cash of Ghc800.00.
With funding from Global Affairs Canada, Savana Signatures in partnership with Salasan Incorporated and Musttimh Solutions is implementing a three year project dubbed,“Technology for Maternal and Child Health (T4MCH)”.
Thirty three health facilities in Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, North Gonja, Sagnarigu, Kajebi, Mamprugu-Moaduri, Wa West, Jirapa, Wa East and Nkwanta North Districts are to benefit from the project.
According to the Executive Director of Savana Signatures, John Stephen Agbenyo, the project is to upgrade the Technology for Maternal Health (T4MH) a STAR-Ghana project implemented in 2011 in 10 hospitals in the Northern Region.
“Like the first project, T4MCH design maternal and child health (MCH) messages and deliver them through mobile phones in SMS and Voice messages format to pregnant women up till six months after they have delivered.”
“SMS are in English but beneficiaries may choose from nine different languages including Dagbani, Gonja, Birifo, Dagaare, Ewe, Twi, Sissala among others for voice messages”, Mr. Agbenyo explained.
He said each of the 33 beneficiary health facilities will receive a laptop, projector, screen, 2 smart phones and a public address system to enable nurses disseminate information to pregnant women through power point presentations, videos and graphics.
The T4MCH Programmes Manager, Abdul-Rashid Imoro disclosed that each of the health facilities will receive a monthly cash of GH¢800.00 throughout its implementation.
He said the money would be meant for fuelling motorbikes needed for outreach programmes.
“In order to ensure effective utilisation of the electronic or ICT equipment that will be given to the health facilities, Savana Signatures is also training selected midwives and Community health nurses (CHN) on how to operate and use them efficiently,” he stated.
He recalled that 16 Community Health Nurses and midwives from four beneficiary health facilities in the Sagnarigu District were trained on the project’s implementation.
“The aim is to improve their skills with computers and ultimately women and families’ access to good MCH information.”
“The trainings are designed to improve ICT skills amongst midwives and CHN and specifically focus on ICT skills for better MCH outcomes,” Mr. Imoro added.
A Community Health Nurse, Linda Dery of the Kalpohin Health Centre lauded the initiative saying “Now, with the kind of training I have received through the T4MCH project, my knowledge will be adequately enhanced to enable me store accurate data of patients who visit the facility.”
“We will no longer encounter problems with regards to data collection and storage and this means that patients conditions are monitored very well and the appropriate actions taken to address their health needs”, she noted.
About 30,000 pregnant women are expected to benefit from the T4MCH by increasing their access to health facilities and knowledge about safe childbirth.
The project is also intended to encourage regular antenatal and postnatal care attendance.
The Ghana Health Service has over the years been grappling with reduction of maternal and infant mortality ratio across the country.
Worrying statistics suggest that maternal mortality rates are exceedingly higher in Northern Ghana than the national average of 320 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Poor road network, female genital mutilation, anaemia, lack of or inadequate health personnel as well as essential lifesaving medicines among others, account for these deaths.
Improper documentation or storage of data on infants and pregnant women also contribute to needless deaths escalating the statistics.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana