Cultural beliefs a hindrance to accessing health care – Health Director

Ghana’s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals four and five, requires a declaration of zero tolerance for infant and maternal mortality, Dr John Koku Awoonor-Williams, Upper East Regional Director of Health Services has said.

He said efforts at achieving this must be accompanied by innovative health promotions and preventive interventions that targeted the poor and vulnerable in rural areas.

Dr Awoonor-Williams, who said this at a public lecture in Bolgatanga, noted that culture determined the way of life of a people and that many beliefs and perceptions about culture affected people’s behaviour in seeking health services.

He said decisions regarding health choices made pregnant women loose their lives as a result of late care interventions from health professionals.

The Regional Health Director said even though Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAS) operating in the region are unskilled, about 53 per cent of women preferred delivering at home using their services.

He said some cultures have the belief that delivering at home showed a mark of bravery and fidelity to husbands and therefore a woman who died through delivery was interpreted as having extra marital affair with another man rather than simple scientific fact that the mother failed to utilise the preventable and promotional health care interventions.

Dr Awoonor-Williams said the promotional health interventions included health education and counseling, early antenatal care, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV infections, and reporting early and delivery from the hands of skilled health professional.

He said the Ghana Health Service had tailored in research projects and programmes to make health care services more community participatory and culturally accommodating, while contributing to staff skill training to handle clients professionally.

Dr Awoonor-Williams lauded the globally acclaimed “Zorko Initiative” instituted by Hajia Marie Issaka, which thrived on the tenets of the culture of the people of the Bongo District, adding that clients were treated with respect and dignity they deserved.

The initiative also promoted health talks that enticed pregnant women to use health facilities and ensured that local dishes and liquids like flour water were served to mothers, who delivered at the health facility, just as they would have been served at home.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.