There has been a considerable reduction in maternal deaths in the East Mamprusi District of the Northern Region due to interventions under the Encouraging Positive Practice for Improving Child Survival (EPPICS) project by the Catholic Relief Services.
As a result of the project, maternal death has reduced from 275 deaths per a 100,000 live births in 2011 to 81 per a 100,000 live births 2015, a significant reduction of about 139 percent.
Still birth rate has 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 impressive successes chalked by project comes at a time Ghana missed out on its target of achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, which aims at improving maternal health and reduce maternal death.
Northern Region has the highest maternal mortality ratio with East Mamprusi recording 275 death per a 100,000 live births.
However through the conscious strategies including the use of the Council of Champions,’ which is the engagement of custodians of tradition to act as change agents, some strides have been made.
The project is a collaborative effort of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the University for Development Studies funded by the USAID.
The four year project was aimed at reducing the high rate of maternal mortality and morbidity among women of reproductive age in the East Mamprusi District of the Northern Region.
Speaking at the end of the project in Accra, Mr Mohammed Ali, Health Programme Manager for CRS said in the past, the custodians of tradition determined when a woman should access health facility when they were pregnant and so the project played a critical role in sensitising those custodians to change their practices.
According to him, they also used the tricycle to reach out to communities which are hard to reach because of the bad nature of roads.
The tricycle which was re-modified to suit the area reached out to about 40 percent of the out of reach communities in the East Mamprusi area.
The project also repositioned traditional birth attendants as the link providers to accompany women at the point of labour to the nearest health facility.
Mr. Mohammed Ali said the project chalked some success mainly because they were able to blend both community based strategies with facility based strategies adding that at the community level they carried out massive mobilization of community members for sensitization and participation in the project intervention.
He added that they also identified the health facilities in the region and supported them with training and logistics to deliver the services needed.
Source: Ghana|Joy News|Martina Bugri