UNICEF assesses progress of Mother- Baby-Friendly Project

Samuel Akapule, GNA

Bugsongo (U/E), Aug.
12, GNA – A UNICEF Team of health experts and consultants are in the Upper East
Region to assess the implementation of the Mother-Baby-Friendly Health Facility
Initiatives (MBFHI) project aimed at reducing infant and neonatal deaths.

The MBFHI is being
piloted in the Kassena-Nankana West, the Bongo, Bawku and the Bolgatanga

The two-year project
has interventions including advocacy and focus group discussions to ensure
increase demand for ante-natal and post-natal services, early initiation to
breast feeding within 30 minutes after birth, exclusive breastfeeding and
promoting basic new-born care.

The four districts are
the only ones selected to pilot the project being implemented by some Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), with
financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Rural Initiatives
for Self-Empowerment (RISE-Ghana), an NGO, is complementing the efforts of the
Regional Health Directorate to implement the project in the Kassena-Nankana
West District.

Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama,
the Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, expressed gratitude to the Team to
observe the efforts of community mobilisation, advocacy and sensitisation
programmes targeting traditional rulers, mothers of new born babies, pregnant
women, husbands, mothers-in-law, community and religious leaders to ensure
project success.

He said focus group
discussions and advocacy had been organised in 32 communities in the District
to increase demand for skilled delivery, optimal breastfeeding, and maternal
and new born care services in line with the National Newborn Strategy and the

Mr Emmanuel Mba, the
Project Officer of RISE-Ghana, facilitated a session on exclusive
breastfeeding, indicating that it goes beyond the health of the baby to include
the well-being of the mother and the community at large and entreated
stakeholders, particularly husbands, to encourage it.

Mrs Asakibeem
Alabalge, a mother of twins, said had it not been for the project she would
have found it very difficult to manage the babies as they were preterm.

“I was schooled to
take my child through Kangaro mother care. Now my babies are all right and look
normal. I am very grateful to the project and I want to encourage everybody,
particularly women, to put into practice what we have learnt from the project.”

Dr Priscilla Wobil, a
Health Specialist, Tamale UNICEF Field Office, called on the community members
to support the GHS in its operations.

Shecalled on the NGOs
to support the community to engage in advocacy to strengthen the Health
Insurance Scheme to sustain the gains made.

Dr Nabila Zaka, a
Senior Advisor in-charge of Maternal and Newborn Healthcare of UNICEF, New
York, commended the implementing partners for the work done and urged them to
improve on it to achieve the desired results.

The community members
complained about lack of some medications for pregnant women, particularly
during delivery, and blamed the problem on the delay of government to reimburse
service providers.


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