POSTED July 30, 2018
Improving the health of women, babies and children
It’s exciting to share how we’re improving the well-being of thousands
By George Baiden, CCFC country director, Ghana
Healthcare shouldn’t be a privilege. Too many people in Ghana struggle for this basic right, but I’m excited about the care we’re providing to expectant moms and their babies. I recall a recent example of good news that brought a smile to my face.
It was about 3 p.m. I heard motorbikes roaring towards The Clinic of Hope in Kasuliyili, Ghana and a man rushing to help a woman. The pain was written on her face as she staggered towards the maternity room, followed by a midwife. What seemed like five minutes later, a baby cried and smiles spread across the faces of the men waiting outside.
Azara (below), 32, had just delivered her third child, Jemila. She later told me how the birthing experience was better this time, because she got help from a healthcare professional. She learned this was important through The Clinic of Hope’s community outreach program.
It’s a similar story for many women who have delivered at the medical centre, which Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) had built in 2009. Before then, women who needed professional help to deliver their baby were carried in a donkey cart, a bicycle or a motorbike for between 12 and 30 kilometres to the nearest medical centre. Many women and babies died.
In fact, World Bank stats show the maternal mortality rate for Ghana was at 315 per 100,000 live births in 2015. The rate has improved from 500 per 100,000 live births in 1990. I’m proud to see CCFC helping change the story and make significant contributions to improving maternal health in the country.
The Clinic of Hope, funded by Francesca Young of Toronto (above), has been a part of that evolution. It has brought health services to the doorsteps of more than 7,500 people in six communities.
And, now with new staff quarters, the clinic is open around the clock; it even has solar panels so it can operate without electricity during occasional power outages.
“The facility is not only serving six communities around my territory; I can count more than four other communities benefiting,” Naa Abdulai, the chief at The Clinic of Hope told me. “[Patients] come to access ante-natal, post-natal (care) and general services.”
The clinic staff attends to various illnesses, including diarrhea, snakebites, pneumonia and malaria, but its maternal health program feeds into CCFC’s focus on women’s issue and a bigger project called Promoting Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Sustainable Health Efforts (PROMISE).
We’re leading the implementation of PROMISE in partnership with ADRA Canada and Emmanuel International Canada in Ghana, Malawi and Rwanda. The goal is to reduce maternal and child mortality by improving health-service delivery and nutrition between mom and baby.
And, Ghana’s health service is already partnering with CCFC to continue spreading awareness to expectant moms about delivering their babies in health clinics with professionals.
I’m so proud of our team and partners in the Ghanaian government, United Nations and other organizations who have acknowledged the impact of our support.
So, what’s next? We’re hoping to secure resources to extend similar advocacy and care to many other needy areas in Ghana. We’ve come a long way, but we still have more pregnant women, babies and children to keep safe. No one should be left behind.
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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.