By Gifty Amofa, GNA
Kumasi, July 14, GNA – A six-day training workshop held in Kumasi as part of a four-year baby mortality intervention, “Make Every Baby Count Initiative (MEBCI)”, aimed at reducing the growing incidence in baby mortality in the Ashanti Region has ended.
The workshop organized by the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate, PATH-Ghana, and Children Investment Fund (CIF), facilitators of MEBCI, saw the training of Forty-eight (48) health officials, bringing the total number of trained personnel under the Initiative to 1,400.
Dr. Alexis Nang- Beifubah, the Regional Director of Health Services, in a speech to close the event said in all, about 4,000 doctors, mid-wives, pediatric nurses and anesthetics, have received the training in the four selected regions: Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern and Volta Regions in the country.
He said choosing the Region as a beneficiary was timely due to the fact that the Region was adjudged the highest contributor to neo-natal death in Ghana according to the Ghana Demographic health survey in 2014, saying that this necessitated the commencement of assessment for the Initiative in the same year.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) then introduced the MEBCI in the Region in July 2015 in an effort to curb the canker.
“However, due to the positive impact of MEBCI, the Region has earned the enviable accolade of being adjudged the best performing Region in reducing neonatal mortality rate in 2016”, he said.
He said, a survey conducted before the introduction of MEBCI found that more than 50 per cent of the healthcare providers had not received any formal training in new born care whereas basic newborn equipment, posters and protocols on newborn care were also inadequate.
“Additionally between September and November in the same year, GHS assessed the cause of deaths among infants in 56 MEBCI focused facilities”, he said.
Dr. Nang- Beifubah said as part of the programme, influential community members were identified to serve as agents of change through awareness creation.
He commended Doctors Rita Fosu Yeboah, newborns focal persons, Dr. Fred Adomako Boateng and David Acheampong for committing to the success of the project which would end in August 2018.
Dr. Patience Cofie, Chief of Party, MEBCI (PATH-Ghana) said the three identified causes of newborn deaths which happened mostly within their first week were prematurity, infection and inability to breath properly.
“Thus, PATH, in helping to address the situation, three modules were designed for the training, they are: Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB) and Infection Prevention”, she said.
She explained that MEBCI highlighted the need for parent and newborn baby to maintain skin-to-skin contact, simply to keep the baby warm, especially for premature babies who have no access to incubators.
Dr. Patience said the participants were not only given Essential Care Equipment but were followed up and taken through practical examination on Objectively Structured Clinical Observation.
She admitted that though the training had come to an end in the Region, change would only come if they were committed and had a strong leadership or drive.
Dr Patience called on GHS to continue to train more workers to monitor the performance of health facilities, provide the needed equipment and continuously improve new born care until the desired goal was reached.
“PATH would continue to support through vaccines, drugs, devices, diagnostics as well as systems and service innovations as it hoped new born deaths would reach single digits”, she said.
Certificates were awarded to the participants.