NewsWest AfricaGhana launches new campaign to save lives of mothers and babies

Thu,30Oct2014

Posted on Thursday, 28 February 2013 12:46

Ghana launches new campaign to save lives of mothers and babies

By Lawrence Quartey

It is estimated that 30 women out of every 1000 who give birth have their children dying within the first four weeks/Photo©ReutersGhana on Tuesday launched a new campaign aimed reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.

 

Dubbed "Mamaye" (meaning mother is good), the campaign is being initiated by Evidence for Action (E4A), a DFID (UK Department for International Development) funded project that seeks to complement the government's efforts to promote maternal health and that of infants and newborn survival in Ghana.

In other countries it is almost unheard of for children under 5 to die

The new drive is meant to inform Ghanaians on what pre and post natal measures they can adopt to promote good health.

Central to the campaign theme are messages urging Ghanaians to donate a unit of blood each to the national blood transfusion service. This is because the major cause of maternal deaths in the country is excessive bleeding after delivery.

Seven women die daily from pregnancy and childbirth complications, while three babies die every hour during childbirth.

It is estimated that 30 women out of every 1000 who give birth have their children dying within the first four weeks, while 80 out of 1000 babies who survive do not make it to the age of five.

Health experts have described these as frightening statistics that deserve urgent attention.

"In other countries it is almost unheard of for children under 5 to die," Professor Richard Adanu of E4A said at the launch of the campaign in Accra.

Ghana's Deputy Minister of Health, Rojo Mettle-Nunoo commenting on the situation said: "We can't continue to lose our mothers and children to senseless deaths... The future of Ghana lies in the bellies of our mothers."

The attainment of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, he said, required the efforts of all and sundry, because "in many homes in Ghana especially in rural areas, most often the one to help pregnant mothers is [not available]."

In the last couple of years the country has seen an increasing number of efforts by various stakeholders to improve maternal and child mortality.

Programmes introduced include the MDG Accelerated Frame Work, High Impact Rapid Delivery, Safe Motherhood, the free maternal health care initiative and the recent attempt to include family planning under the National Health Insurance Scheme.

All these have sought to position Ghana on track to attain the MDGs 4 and 5.

Vicky Okine, the CEO of the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, a network of NGOs promoting a rights-based approach to sexual reproductive health, believed time had come to change the story from mortality to maternal and child survival.

"Mamaye is creating that platform to make this goal a reality. It will focus on the public arming them with concrete evidence on maternal health," she said.

DFID is funding the E4A programme in six African countries: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Ghana.

In Ghana the E4A project is housed in the school of public health university of Ghana and the main partner promoting advocacy for maternal and newborn health is the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights.



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