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Plastic chairs and benches improve antenatal care

Mothers and children using the new chairs and benches while attending the Zaari CHPS compound. Mothers and children using the new chairs and benches while attending the Zaari CHPS compound.

Re-established health committee rallies for waiting room furniture

 

It’s staggering to think that a lack of plastic chairs and benches could become a matter of life and death, but that was the case in the Northern Region.

There was no furniture in the waiting room at the Zaari community health compound in East Mamprusi since it was established in 2016. 

Patients would either stand or sit on the floor, pregnant women refused to visit the compound for antenatal care and mothers refused to visit the child welfare clinic with their children due to the discomfort.

‘‘Some community members who fell ill preferred to sit in the comfort of their homes to treat minor illness with herbal medicines, which eventually led to complications,” said Mabel Brobbey, the nurse in charge of the Zaari Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compound where the child welfare clinic is housed. “Some people even lost their lives as a result.’’

Every CHPS compound is supposed to have a community health management committee (CHMC) that serves as a link between the community and the compound, and mobilizes resources. But the Zaari community lacked a CHMC, too.

ENSURING COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN CHPS COMPOUNDS

People for Health, supported by USAID, worked with local partners, district citizens monitoring committees and district health management teams to re-establish 25 CHMCs to serve an estimated population of 85,647 across five districts in the Northern Region, including East Mamprusi. 

In January 2018, a total of 225 CHMC members were reoriented on their roles and responsibilities, including mobilizing resources for health activities. After their reorientations, the CHMCs drafted and implemented action plans to guide their work. 

Zaari now has a functional CHMC with three female and four male members. As part of their action plan for the first quarter of 2018, the Zaari CHMC worked with the local assembly member and chiefs to encourage community members to contribute GHC 1.00 per household toward the purchase of waiting room furniture for their CHPS compound, and raised enough money to furnish the compound with eight plastic chairs and five benches.

The CHMC further embarked on a series of community engagement meetings to encourage community members, especially pregnant women, to seek health care at the compound. More than 150 villagers were educated on the dangers of self-medication, and the benefits of antenatal care to prevent child and maternal deaths.

ATTENDANCE INCREASES AT CHILD WELFARE CLINIC

Just one month after the Zaari CHMC was revitalized and the CHPS compound was furnished with chairs and benches, attendance at the CHPS child welfare clinic rose by 30 percent, from 160 children in February to 201 children in March 2018.

“Before the reconstitution and sensitization of the CHMC, the facility attendance was low for pregnant women and children,” said Brobbey. “But today, the effort of CHMC members has enabled the CHPS compound to record higher numbers at the child welfare clinic and general attendance at the facility. The great work from the community is key in helping the facility perform its function of providing primary health care to the community.”

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