- On August 21, 2015
Men have been encouraged to support their partners especially during pregnancy and impress upon them to take their medication regularly. They were also advised to accompany their wives to the health facility whenever it is time to do so.
Speaking at a two day intensive maternal health training for over 45 Community Maternal Health Champions selected across Northern region, Madam Patience Buahin, a Regional Health Promoter at the Northern Regional Health Directorate said, “men who accompany their pregnant partners to the health facility get preferential treatment and are attended to early.”
She said by doing this, their partners will feel cared for and motivated to religiously adhere to antenatal rules. “This practice can help reduce if not prevent pregnancy complications that usually result in maternal deaths”.
There are traditional beliefs that make it difficult for men to give their pregnant partners this kind of support.
Abu Fatau is a 32 year old farmer who resides in Tolon. He is married with three children. His wife is pregnant with their 4th child. He confessed that he doesn’t accompany his wife to the health facility. “My friends teased me when I accompanied my wife to the hospital. Because of this I have stopped,” he lamented.
Many men consider pregnancy support as a female responsibility. Whiles some are put off by the negative attitude of health professionals, others cite inadequate privacy that exists in the health facilities.
It is for this reason that SEND-GHANA embarked on maternal health education to educate both men and women on the importance of antenatal and the role of the men during pregnancy.
Though the situation is improving, maternal mortality rate is not. The Region has unacceptably recorded 57 maternal deaths from January to June, 2015.
The region recorded 212 maternal deaths in 2012, 99 in 2013, 66 in 2014.
This development did not excite the Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Jacob Mahama.
According to him, expectant mothers’ apathy towards antenatal attendance has been identified as a major cause of maternal deaths in Northern region. In addition, many women rely on Traditional Birth Attendants for delivery, instead of delivery at the hospitals.
In view of this, SEND-GHANA organized at a two day intensive maternal health training for over 45 Community Maternal Health Champions made up of TBAs, Traditional leaders, market queens, youth group leaders, Community Health volunteers selected across the region.
On his part, Mr. John Nkaw, a Programme Officer at SEND-GHANA said the organization will continue to “work with its partners to ensure that maternal deaths are reduced to the minimum.”
The training forms part of European Commission (EU) funded “Improving Maternal Health Service Delivery through Participatory Governance (IMPROVE)” project being implemented by Christian Aid and SEND-GHANA.
Dr. Mahama is of the view that, SEND-GHANA’s training of Community Champions to assist the health directorate and its development partners has the potential to overturn the situation.
The IMPROVE project is being implemented in 30 districts across Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions is in collaboration with Ghana Health Service (GHS).