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Pregnant women and their children get the help they need

How a new health project is changing lives in rural Ghana

By William Anim-Dankwa, communications manager, Ghana

Aisha (pictured), 35, was nine-months pregnant when we met in Kpalba, in the Northern region of Ghana. She wasn’t having her first baby, but she was feeling less anxious about this delivery.

In the past, she heard many women from her community and beyond died during childbirth. In fact, 136 mothers died last year in Ghana; and, six months into 2017, 72 more women died due to maternity-related issues, shared Dr. Abubakari Braimah, deputy regional director, clinical health for the Ghana Health Service.

More specifically, the maternal mortality rate in 2015 was 319 (out of 100,000 live births), according to Ghana Health Service. Many of those deaths were in the Northern region.

There are many reasons for the high mortality rates. To start, the long distances between communities where people live and health centres — routes often inaccessible during the rainy season — are usually travelled by motorbike or donkey cart. The terrain is so bad the national ambulance service cannot operate in the area.

But Aisha had more confidence in the safe delivery of her baby, thanks to the $7.7-million Promoting Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Sustainable Health Efforts (PROMISE) project. It’s being implemented through a consortium led by the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada in partnership with ADRA Canada and Emmanuel International Canada and funded by Global Affairs Canada.

The goal of the project is to reduce maternal and child mortality in rural Ghana by improving delivery and use of nutritional food and supplements as well as essential services for mothers, pregnant women, babies and children under the age of five.

As part of that mission, tricycle ambulances and medicine — including folic acid, vitamin A, multivitamins, anti-malaria tablets and more — have been distributed to health facilities in the targeted region. Local staff are also being trained and computers have been provided to better track the medical journey of mothers and their babies.

Many people have already benefited or can see how the new initiatives will make a difference.

“The bikes will help save the lives of many pregnant women,” said Tadom Jacob, a community member, as keys were handed over in a special ceremony.

Aisha and Jacob are grateful to be some of the first recipients of goodwill from the initiative, which is anticipated to reach 100,000 people by 2020.

To learn more about PROMISE, visit ccfcanada.ca/partnerships.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 55 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.