Basic Needs Ghana implements Maternal Mental Health project

Tuesday 11th September, 2018
Bongo Maternal Health

By Anthony Apubeo, GNA

Bolgatanga, Sept 11, GNA - Basic Needs Ghana, an advocacy Non-Government Organisation has begun the implementation of a new project dubbed “Maternal Mental Health (MMH)” Project in five regions in the country to improve on maternal mental health delivery.

The regions include; the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong-Ahafo and the Greater Accra Regions and is expected to cover 74 districts across the aforementioned regions.

All the 15 Municipal and Districts in the Upper East Region would benefit from the project.

The project, which had funding support from the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK) was made known at a stakeholder’s forum in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Capital.

It attracted stakeholders including; District Directors, Senior Public Health Nurses from the Ghana Health Service, and Media practitioners among others.

Adam Dokurugu Yahaya, the Programmes Manager of Basic Needs Ghana, explained that the project aimed at enhancing MMH of the vulnerable pregnant women and mothers and their children in Ghana to realise their maternal and child health care needs.

He mentioned the implementing partners as Basic Needs Ghana, Gub-Katimali Society (GKS), Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiatives (CPRI) and Mission of Hope for Society International Foundation (MIHOSO).

The Programmes Manager indicated that the project would target about 11,070 persons representing 75 percent of women and girls to be delivered by skilled attendants at health facilities, 400 mid-wives, 100 Traditional Birth Attendants and 800 Community Health Nurses (CHNs) to acquire skills in basic MMH care to enable them screen and treat maternal mood disorders.

He said apart from the project target of 11,808 pregnant women and girls representing 80 percent in the project districts to attend four antenatal visits to health facilities in the project locations by end of 2019, it was further targeted at promoting exclusive breastfeeding.

He stated that among some of the activities so far executed included; the baseline studies conducted on the MMH project, the launch of the MMH project in the Brong Ahafo Region, the development of posters and billboards of the MMH for public education, the training of 1,124 mental health workers, CHNs, midwives, enrolled Nurses among others on Essential Skills in Mental Health care.

The project, he revealed also trained 1,124 mental health workers, CHNs, midwives, enrolled Nurses among others on the Edinburgh Prenatal Depression Screening tool, set up four Counselling units at the Sunyani Municipal, Tuobodom, the Nkoranza North and Prang to offer first level care for screened pregnant women found to be in need of psychotherapy.

He said the quarterly specialist psychiatrist outreach clinics programme initiated by the project is also on-going and underscored the need to incorporate mental health into Medium Term development Plans of the Municipal and District Assemblies.

The stakeholders who expressed happiness about the project, impressed upon government to mainstream MMH into the maternal and child health policy and programmes.