Samuel Akapule, GNA,
Bolgatanga, May 4, GNA - Media Practitioners, Civil Society Organisations including Community Based Organisations have ended a - three-day advocacy training workshop on Maternal Health in the Upper East Region.
The Project dubbed “Maternal Health Social Accountability Project (MEHAP)”, is being implemented by the Presbyterian Health Services-North through the Presbyterian Health Innovation Projects in the Builsa North, Binduri and Pusiga districts of the Upper East Region with funding from the European Union and the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) of Germany.
Mr Felix Dordaa, Programme Officer of the Presbyterian Health Services-North, explained that the aim of the workshop was to build the capacity of the CSOs and the media houses for improved reportage in advocating maternal health issues at both the district, regional and the national levels.
He said the media was a critical tool in advocacy and policy formulation issues and impressed upon Media Practitioners to partner Civil Society Organisations to expose the challenges confronting maternal health in the country, particularly in the Upper East Region.
The Programme Officer who pointed out that maternal health featured predominantly in the Sustainable Development Goals, called on the Media to devote much time and space for maternal and infant health issues.
Throwing more light on the MEHAP Project, Mr Dordaa said the project was being implemented by the Presbyterian Health Services –North through its wing, the Presbyterian Health Innovation projects (PHIP) office.
He explained that the overall objective of the project was to improve public responsiveness to maternal health care and indicated that under the project, Community Health Management Committees had been constituted and their capacity built to appraise in the various health facilities in terms of consumables, attendance, punctuality and attitude of health workers among others using score cards and demanding and advocating f improved maternal health services.
The development of the MEHAP concept, the Programmes Officer noted, was based on the previous projects implemented by his outfit, with support from Star Ghana and Simavi of the Netherlands, where they worked with a number of Community Health Management Committees to help improve maternal health.
Mr Dordaa explained that the project which started in 2014 and expected to end in June 2017, had made significant impact in the operational areas by reactivating some defunct Community Health Management Committees to demand accountability on maternal health issues from duty bearers.
Mr Edwin Batiir who facilitated the workshop, took the participants through the concept of Power, Policy, Ideology, Politics and Human Rights, Advocacy, Lobbying, Activism, Understanding the Advocacy Process and Developing simple advocacy plans that could be implemented for improved maternal health care among others.
Some of the key issues the stakeholders mentioned as major challenges included; lack of ambulance services, lack of residential and office accommodation for health staff, absence of consumables and electricity at some health facilities and lack of midwives at CHIP compounds.