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Regional News of Sunday, 27 June 2021

Source: Sarah Dubure, Contributor

Basic Needs Ghana shares successes chalked towards improving maternal mental health

A photograph of a woman and her children A photograph of a woman and her children

Basic Needs Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has marked a field day in maternal mental health issues in Bolgatanga, as part of their accountability project.

The project sought to afford Basic Needs Ghana the opportunity, to share with their collaborators their contribution towards the improvement of maternal health and livelihood outcomes among poor and vulnerable women and girls in targeted Districts in the Region.

The Project Coordinator, Fred Nantogma, noted that most pregnant women went through mental health conditions when pregnant, or shortly after giving birth, but it mostly went unnoticed because no one looked out for them.

He noted with worry, that the situation affected the quality of life of many women.

"For most women, they go through mental health conditions when they are pregnant or when they have just given birth, but it goes slightly unnoticed because no one is really looking out for them either at the hospital or within the family, and this is affecting the quality of life of many women."

It was therefore on the backdrop of this, that the programme was designed to address this gap by producing a tool called, the Perinatal Adopted screening tool, to help non-clinicians to be able to screen for mental health conditions at maternal and child health points.

Mr Nantogma also noted, that from their observation, they realized that the tool was increasingly beneficial in the piloted areas where they tested it.

He, therefore, recommends that it was high time the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, considered taking the tool and compressing it for use by government hospitals across the country so that they can easily identify those in need of mental care.

"Maybe it is time for the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, to consider taking this tool, compressing it for use by all Ghana Government Hospitals, so that it becomes possible for women during pregnancy and after delivery, to be screened on a routine basis so that we can easily identify those in need of mental health care." He pointed.

This, he explained, was necessary because if pregnant women were not screened and the need for mental health was not detected early, most pregnant women would go through pregnancy, exposed to increasing burdens from mental health conditions.

"If women are not screened and we do not identify mental health early, most women would through pregnancy, exposed to increased burdens from mental health conditions, which otherwise would have been very easy to treat at the beginning," he said.

For his part, the Chief Director of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Mahamadu Asibi Azonko, observed that very few government and non-governmental organizations were into maternal mental health, and therefore commended Basic Needs Ghana for such an initiative.

He observed that their initiative was very good for the Region, as they can not delink the development of Mothers from children.

Alhaji Mahamadu also noted, that if they were able to cater for the mental needs of women, it would spill over to their children, and they would consequently have happy families and develop as a nation.

He however warned that if they downplayed the maternal mental health issues, the development process as a Region would slow down.

"If we downplay the development of maternal mental issues, definitely, our development process will slow down." He warned.

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