Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Bongo (UE), Sept 11, GNA – The implementation
of the Mother Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI) in the Upper
East region, has contributed significantly to improve on maternal health and
neonatal service delivery in the Bongo District.
Ms Rosemond Azure, the District Director of
the Ghana Health Services (GHS) in charge of the Bongo District, made this
observation in an address read on her behalf by Mr Bantiu Cabral, the Focal
Person of the MBFHI and the District Nutrition Officer, during a community
engagement forum organised in the District.
The Integrated Youth Needs and Welfare
(INTYON), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in collaboration with the Bongo
District Directorate of health service begun the implementation of the project
in the area in 2016 has now scaled it up to reach 100 communities out of the
142 communities in the District.
The project employs interventions including;
advocacy and focus group discussions to ensure increased demand for ante-natal
and post-natal services, early initiation to breastfeeding within 30 minutes
after birth, exclusive breastfeeding and promoting basic new-born care among
The initiative, which had funding support from
UNICEF and the Bill Gates Foundation, another NGO was being implemented in Bolgatanga
and Bawku Municipals as well as the Kassena-Nankana District.
The forum organised by the INTYON, was
therefore aimed at getting the support of more Health Workers and Community
Health Volunteers to help in the scaling up of the project to reach more of the
communities in the District.
Ms Azure mentioned that the major causes of
neonatal deaths such as premature births and congenital abnormalities which
used to frequently occur in the area had reduced drastically with the
introduction of the initiative.
“We realised that most of the new born babies
die within the first day of delivery up to the first week of life, so
there was the need to focus on the survival of the mother and baby between
labour and immediately after birth”
She said the initiative included identifying
and dealing with labour related complications, initiating early exclusive
breast feeding, and giving medication geared at reducing neonatal deaths, and
lauded the funding agencies for the support particularly in the areas of the
provision of equipment, capacity building trainings and other logistics.
Chief Issah Ibrahim, the Executive Director of
INTYON, said the project empowered the target communities to engage in
community mobilisation, advocacy and sensitisation programmes targeted at
traditional rulers, mothers of new born babies, pregnant women, husbands,
mothers-in-law, community and religious leaders to ensure that the project
The women groups stated that before the
intervention of the project, many pregnant women used to deliver at homes and
experienced either birth complications or death, and indicated that with the
education they received through the focal group discussions, durbars and drama,
they now give birth at health facilities with skilled nurses attending to them.
Majority of the women, who testified that
children who were exclusively breastfed for six months were healthier than
those who do not practised exclusive breastfeeding, said the project had helped
to reduce some negative cultural practices that hindered exclusive
breastfeeding, and maternal and infant health services.