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21 February 2017

GHS, NGOs initiate programme to improve newborn care

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Global statistics indicate that each year 2.9 million newborns die within the first month of birth, with an additional 2.6 million showing no sign of life at birth. According to health professionals, the main causes of newborn mortality, which occurs mostly in developing countries, include complications due to prematurity, complications during delivery and infections.

In line with efforts to deal with the issue, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with other health-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development partners, introduced the “Making every baby count” initiative to improve newborn care across health facilities in the country.

The five-year initiative will support four regions to improve newborn health through effective management of prematurity, infections and inability of the newborn babies to breathe.

The programme is also intended to equip the people with knowledge, strategies and skills towards better care of the newborn child and avoidance of preventable newborn deaths.

Sohats/Socaps

To further give the initiative a push, some newborn care specialists in the Brong Ahafo Region, led by Dr Yaa Adoma Dwomo Fokuo, a Specialist Paediatrician at the Ansu Ababio Paediatric Centre at the Dormaa Presbyterian Hospital, and Dr Jacqueline Asibey, also a Specialist Paediatrician at the Techiman Holy Family Hospital, on this year’s Valentine’s Day, gave newborn babies in the region a special treat.

Under an initiative dubbed Sohats/Socaps, doctors and nurses at the various newborn care units in the various districts in the region bought socks to make hats/caps for the newborn babies in their respective areas.

Purpose

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Dr Jacqueline Asibey said the gesture was part of the activities of the “Making every baby count initiative” in the region to keep the newborn babies warm.

She said the nurses bought socks with their own money, disinfected them and used them to design the hats and caps for the newborns in the various district hospitals.

She said most mothers, particularly those in the rural areas in the region, were poor and could not afford to buy simple hats for their babies, thus the move by the staff at the paediatric units in the region to support the mothers with the sohats.

Dr Asibey said newborn champions (focal persons promoting newborn health at the various districts and community levels) were also involved in the exercise.

Winners

She added that the nurses also taught the mothers of the newborn babies how to make the sohats themselves.

She indicated that the Wamfie Polyclinic came first in the exercise and added that they (personnel from the Wamfie Polyclinic) visited almost every house in the community to distribute the sohats.

She said the newborn units at Wenchi, Bechem, Dormaa and Techiman also did well in the exercise.

For her part, Dr Adoma said: “Valentine’s Day is usually associated with sex and condoms but these healthcare workers have made a difference by using the occasion to show love to the little babies.”

 

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