Ghana Health Service, others launch project to reduce maternal, infant mortality

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the University for Development Studies (UDS) have designed a four-year project to help reduce the high rate of maternal mortality and morbidity among women of reproductive age in the East Mamprusi District of the Northern Region.

The project dubbed, “Encouraging positive practice for improving child survival (EPPICS)” is expected to benefit over 51,000 people comprising  27,000 women of reproductive age and 24,00 children under-five-years in 240 communities.

The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under its child survival and health grants program (CSHGP) at the cost of $2.2 million with 25 per cent of the cost borne by the CRS-Ghana.

Mr Jean Maries, Regional Director of the CRS, West Africa Regional Office, announced this at the launch of the EPPICS Project at Gambaga in the East Mamprusi District on Wednesday.

The launch of the project was under the theme: “Adopt and practice positive behaviors for improving maternal and child survival”.

He said despite the nation’s strides to strengthen health services to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five in the country, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity still remained high in the Northern Region than the rest of the country.

He said it was to address this problem that the CRS, GHS and the UDS were collaborating to implement the EPPICS Project which he described as a high-impact, evidence based community intervention which would focus on health services at the facility level.

He said the Project which aimed at the sustainable reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity would focus on three technical areas, namely maternal and newborn care 60 per cent, maternal and child nutrition 30 per cent and malaria and pregnancy 10 per cent.

Mr Maries said over the past decade the USAID supported the CRS and the GHS to implement the food assisted child survival and focus nutrition intervention programs which benefited over 46,000 women and children by improving access and utilization of maternal and child health services and addressed under nutrition among children under five.

Madam Gariba Hawa Boya, Deputy Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs who launched the Project said Ghana’s high maternal and infant mortality currently stood at 451 per 100,000 live births and 50 per 1000 respectively.

She said these ratios were unacceptable and a dent on the capacity and capability of the health sector and associated agencies including the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.

She blamed the high rate of maternal and infant mortality on outmoded cultural and traditional practices which still run counter to the recommendations of health staff and called for their abolishing.

Source: GNA

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