Health News of Friday, 1 June 2012
Source: mathias aboba
Reports of Ghana’s progress towards the achievement of the health targets of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) particularly goal 4 which looks at reducing child mortality could best be described as a mixed with many calling for review of some of our child health policies and programmes.
However, a resident Gynaecologist and an advocate for Universal Access to Reproductive Health, who is also the Medical Director of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital Dr. Peter Baffoe says the clue to achieving the MDGs target of reducing by two-thirds under-five mortality by 2015, lies within improvement in neonatal health or newborn care. Neonatal state in child health as defines it refers to the first minute to the 28th day of live. According to him this is the most crucial stage of live where all the care which is needed to save a child from dying must be given.
Dr. Baffoe who was speaking on behalf the Regional Director Health of Services at the opening of a three-day training workshop for midwives on neonatal resuscitation in Bolgatanga in the upper East Region said, over the years Ghana has made significant improvement in overall child mortality however, if the data is desegregated one will realise that about 40% of all deaths in children occur at the neonatal state, when these figures are further scrutinized it even reveals that a larger proportion of these deaths happens in the first 24 hours and or the first one week. This means that we need to be organizing refresher training for midwives and other health professionals to keep them abreast of current standards in neonatal care.
The neonatal resuscitation training for midwives in the region forms part of a set of interventions aimed at building the capacity of district and community health care providers under the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Programme (GEHIP) which is being piloted in the Bongo, Builsa and Garu Tempane Districts.
Dr. Baffoe argued that the situation of child mortality as it pertains now in Ghana gives a clear indication that as a country if we are determined to meet the MDGs target on child mortality then we must find solutions to the challenges of newborn care.
He extolled the merits of medical staff refresher training and said some of the Midwives who were being trained have not received any well organized refresher course to update their skills since leaving the classroom. “As we train them on neonatal resuscitation they have become great assets to the region, their districts, facilities and communities and the nation as whole” he reiterated.
He appealed to the government and health development partners to make it a priority to provide basic new born care facilities in health institutions at all levels in the country. Dr Baffoe went on to entreat midwives to constantly renew their commitment to the profession by improving their skills through learning and adhering to professional ethics.
Dr. okai Brako, a facilitators of the Neonatal Resuscitation training course who is also Head of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Ridge Regional Hospital in Accra, explained that neonatal resuscitation is the process of helping babies who experience difficulties in breathing soon after coming out to be able to breathe. He noted that 10% of all babies born usually require resuscitation due to many factors such as delayed labour among others things.
He lamented that a number of those babies usually end up dying as a result of lack of skilled personnel and equipment for resuscitation.
In an interview a Member of the GEHIP implementation team Mr. Robert Aligiriya said the entire GEHIP project is a health system strengthening strategy containing a number of well tested and proven health interventions which implementation and evaluation is seeking to assess the impact of comprehensive package of health interventions on the acceleration of the health MDGs.
The project he related is a Ghana Health Service implemented partnership with the Tanzania Health Services with funding from Doris Duke Foundation; a US charity organization and technical support from Columbia University.
A cross-section of the participants spoken to was highly appreciative of the training and expressed strong commitment to transfer the knowledge to their colleagues when they return: for Clara Ofori from Bongo District the training was an eye opener on current trends in new born care something she promised to use to improve up her service standards as she put it: “For me I have learnt a lot from this training and this is going to help me improve upon the way I handle my work”.