- On May 28, 2020
By Mohammed Tajudeen
“I experienced one of the most difficult moments in life during my first and second childbirths. The availability of a midwife at the CHPS compound made it easy for me to access skilled delivery, and never again will I consider delivering at home,” Memunatu Abdulai.
Yong CHPS compound, since its establishment in 2015, did not have a midwife until May 2019, and many expectant mothers relied on ‘unskilled’ traditional birth assistants (TBAs). The cost of transportation, coupled with long-distance travel, also hindered pregnant women in the area from seeking supervised deliveries in distant facilities.
MEMUNATU SHARES EXPERIENCE
A 30-year-old Memunatu Abdulai, a resident of Yong and a mother of four, recalls her ordeal during her previous childbirths, where she was assisted by a TBA. This experience made her vow not to repeat that mistake in her subsequent birthing.
“When I was in labour pain, I was given herbal concoction to drink to reduce the pain and shorten the duration of labour which didn’t help much,” she said.
As a result, Memunatu defied all odds and visited a sub-district health facility in Bilpela, which is about 9km kilometers for skilled delivery when she got pregnant for her third baby.
TBA assisted delivery in Yong is now a thing of the past after People for Health (P4H), in February 2018, empowered Community Health Management Committees (CHMCs) with advocacy skills to enable them to demand accountability and equity in healthcare delivery. In July 2018, the CHMC, together with District Citizens Monitoring Committees (DCMC) informed authorities at the subdistrict about the need to post a midwife to the Yong CHPS compound. The sub-district initiated the process and channeled the request through the Metropolitan Director of Health Services, and the Metropolitan Public Health Nurse.
The CHMC made several follow-ups with the health authorities, and in May 2019, a midwife was posted to the facility. According to the facility in charge, Mr. Imoro Siisu Jabaah, “it took quite a long time for the health administration to get a midwife who was willing to accept posting to the facility because Yong is relatively a rural community.”
Since the midwife took office in June 2019, home deliveries have significantly reduced in Yong, and more women now access supervised delivery. Memunatu, who recently delivered her fourth baby at the Yong CHPS compound said giving birth under the assistance of skilled health personnel is most reliable and safer.
“I had a very safe delivery by a friendly and respectful midwife, and thankfully, my baby and I are fine.”
Indeed, Memunatu is now a strong advocate for skilled deliveries, and together with the TBAs, they now encourage expectant mothers to visit the CHPS compound for delivery when they are due.
GHANA’S MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE AND THE SDG TARGETS
It is worth highlighting from Memunatu’s experience that Ghana has quite a lot to do to improve institutional deliveries if we are to meet the SDGs targets of less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030. Currently, Ghana’s maternal mortality ratio is 310/100,000 live births, and the skilled delivery rate has stagnated between the coverage of 56% and 58% according to the Ministry of Health Holistic Assessment Report, 2017.