Sirigu (U/E), Oct. 6, GNA - UNiCEF Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service is partnering with Rural Initiatives for Self- Empowerment-Ghana (RISE-Ghana) to use the medium of paintings to communicate the benefits of post-natal and ante-natal services to communities.
The project is part of UNICEF- Ghana and the Ghana Health Service Mother Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI) Project aimed at communicating the health benefits of post-natal and ante-natal services, increase uptake of optimal breastfeeding as well as promote the support of power structures to increase demand for the services towards a reduction of maternal and neo-natal deaths.
Whilst one of the wall paintings or murals is constructed at the Sirigu market, the other one is located at the China health centre, all in the Kassena- Nankana West District.
Briefing the media after a tour embarked by RISE-Ghana, locally based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO ), to communities to ascertain the impact the murals were having on maternal and infant health in the area, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, the Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, said in spite of the various efforts to increase demand for ante-natal and post natal services, patronage continues to be very low in some parts of the country hence, hence the need for innovative approaches to reach them.
He said UNICEF Ghana, the Ghana Health Services and other Civil Society Organizations (CSO) have been using various strategies such as pregnancy schools, durbars and community fora to create awareness and deepen understanding on the importance of post-natal and ante-natal services in reducing maternal and new born deaths.
He said the new innovations and non-conventional approaches have been successful and hopefully it would sustain the progress chalked by UNICEF Ghana, the Ghana Health Services and other CSOs by getting people in communities to participate in dealing with the concern.
Mrs Ayamah Akwara, a trader at the Sirigu market where one of the wall painting is displayed, said it did not only attract customers to her business but had also opened up discussions around breastfeeding and other health concerns with men who traditionally would not discuss such topics in public.
Mr Barnabas Aduko, the Assemblyman for Siriigu Central electoral area, commenting on the mural, said apart from it being an effective method of communicating important health issues and relaying messages that would encourage women to seek health care during pregnancy, it was also able to break the barriers of communication as the images depict the health needs of women and children.
“We in consultation with women, husbands and community leaders who shape decision-making in communities designed and placed the two murals in the most visible and unconventional spaces like markets and health centres. These are generating meaningful dialogue and increasing the visibility of the benefits and barriers to optimal breastfeeding, ante-natal care and post natal care services among market goers who traditionally will not have seen such important messages”, the Assemblyman said.