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American university to support maternal health improvement in Ghana

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A five-member team from the School of Public Health and Information Science (PHIS) of the Louisville University, US, has completed feasibility studies on how best to improve maternal health in Tamale.

As part of their fact finding, the team embarked on a three-week field trip to communities in Tamale to interact with community members, traditional and opinion leaders, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in communities including Laribanga in the West Gonja district in the Northern Region.

The findings and recommendations would be put together in a comprehensive report to be presented to the University Authorities to enable the school to support the country.

Madam Muriel J. Harris, Assistant Professor at the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences PHIS of the University of Louisville told the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Tuesday when the team paid a courtesy call on the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

“Our mission here in Ghana is to find out what specific could be done as a department, as a school to help to improve the maternal health and also build on the good relationship between Tamale and Louisville state,” she said.

Madam Harris noted that during the period of the exercise the group also held talks with stakeholders in the health sector including officials of the Medical School of the University for Development Studies.

Quizzed on some of the findings, she said the group identified lack of health facilities, deficit in distance, lack of social amenities, and non availability of health personnel which were fatal to maternal health.

Madam Harris said observations made was that traditional and orthodox medicines had not improved and that regular training for health personnel and community sensitization and expansion of health facilities was crucial towards the reduction of maternal death.

Improving maternal health is Millennium Development Goal five with a global target to reduce the maternal mortality ration by three quarters by 2015.

Statistics from the 2008 Ghana Millennium Development Goal Report 2010 indicates that the country attained 56 per cent in 2008 and hopes to achieve a 100 per cent by 2015.

Dr Ken Sagoe Chief Executive of Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), giving a background of the initiative, said discussions between the TTH and the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, PHIS of the University of Louisville, started in November 2010 to support the hospital in its quest to reduce maternal death in the region.

He said, the school authorities agreed to send a delegation to find out how they could help to improve maternal health, which was still high according to recent statistics.

Dr Sagoe promised the TTH support to help projects to be undertaken after the teams’ recommendation to the University.

Source: GNA

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