New learning approach saves lives, cost less

Christabel Addo/ Racheal Dwamena – GNA

Accra, July 6, GNA – A joint project by the
Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins
University, US, has yielded great success in reducing early born deaths by 56
per cent and halved postpartum stillbirths.

The GHS said the successes were chalked out
after a practice-based learning approach known as the Low-Dose, High-Frequency
(LDHF), replaced traditional training to improve and maintain midwifery skills,
in a project in 40 hospitals in the Upper West, Central, Western and Grater
Accra Regions.

Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Minister of
Health, at dissemination meeting of the project, which was on: “Accelerating
Newborn Survival Project”, in Accra on Thursday, commended the GHS and Jhpiego
for the initiative and immense contribution to Ghana’s health sector.

He said although the country progressed in
some health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it failed to achieve a
significant reduction in under five mortality, with 60 deaths occurring in
every 1,000 live births, 68 per cent of them happened a few hours after
delivery, and 48 per cent during the first months of life.

He said it was evident that cost effective
interventions were required to ensure a drastic reduction in new-born and under
five mortality.

He pledged the Ministry’s commitment to
enhance resource allocation to health facilities and provide the required
skills training for professionals, facilitate the launching of the Ghana
National New-born Strategy, as well as a National Health Care Strategy, and
scale up the LDHF to improve quality of care of new-borns.  

Dr Eric Sarpong-Ntiamoah, an Obstetrician
Gynaecologist with the GHS, in an overview of the LDHF, said the five-year
project was slightly cost effective compared to the traditional form of
training as it turned the previous instructional approaches on its head by
holding session at the worksites of health providers, rather than requiring
them to travel to distant classrooms, minimising the time providers spent away
from work.

He said the approach also maximised
opportunities for hands-on training and increased the number of providers
trained at each facility, while building a team attitude; provided training for
groups of frontline health care providers, and introduced delivery of short
lessons and interactive simulations that were reinforced over time to optimise

Dr Sarpong-Ntiamoah said mentoring, either
face-to-face or via mobile phone messaging, and peer-led practices were two
hallmark component of the LDHF approach that supported clinical decision-making
and helped in establishing a culture of on-the-job learning.

He said the project was embraced by all the
beneficiary health facilities, who had testified of its immense benefit in
terms of enhancing the knowledge and skills of midwives safe delivery,
postpartum and adherence to patients’ rights.

Dr Felix Abeyifah Bowuo, a Resident
Obstetrician with the GHS, said the LDHF approach was central to Jhpiego’s
Accelerating New born Survival project, which was a comprehensive effort to
dramatically improve quality of care during and immediately after birth by
strengthening the competence and confidence of Health providers to deliver
essential and emergency procedures.

He said the LDHF- trained providers in the
beneficiary hospitals attended to 67,658 births, and the reduction in early
new-born deaths showed the clear value from the investments made through the
programme activities.

He said if implemented sustainably across
nationwide, the approach could train existing health workers more
cost-efficiently than traditional off site workshops which cost 902, compared
to 506 dollars per individual trained in the current approach.


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