Plan Ghana has inaugurated a 16-member Steering Committee for its Women and Children’s Health (WATCH) Project in Accra.
The WATCH Project seeks to improve maternal, neonatal and child health amongst under-served populations in Ghana with special focus on increasing communities’ use of responsive and preventative practices and strengthening health care delivery systems in six districts in the Volta and Eastern regions covering 120 communities.
The project, which runs for the next three and a half years, will employ various interventions that will address the social, economic, gender and general access and utilization constraints that affect the use of health services among women and children that eventually culminate in high level of maternal and neonatal and child morbidity and mortality.
It is estimated that the project will reach a total of 586,921 direct and indirect beneficiaries including women, neonates, children, health professionals (Doctors, Medical/Physician Assistance, Registered Nurses, Midwives, Community Health Officers, Community Health Nurses, and Medical Assistants), Community Mobilisers, and Community Leaders.
The project will also support Health Facilities with service delivery equipment and logistics.
The 16-memeber Committee is made up of representatives from UNICEF, WHO, the Ghana Health Services, Family Health Division and the Ghana Health Service Regional Directorate of the Eastern and Volta regions, Plan Ghana, Plan Canada and CIDA Ghana as an ex officio member.
Mr. Prem Shukla, the Country Director of Plan Ghana, who chaired the ceremony, asked the Steering Committee members to reflect on how the marginalised and hard-to-reach areas could benefit from the Project.
He thanked the Ghana Health Services for agreeing to co-chair the Project and said that, being the representative of the Government of Ghana, the Ghana Health Service had the capacity to identify the underserved areas that the Project could reach.
Members of the Steering Committee expressed their commitment towards the Project and promised to lend their technical expertise to the success and scaling up of the Project.
Rosine Asamoi, the Senior Project Manager from Plan Canada said that, given the short period for the implementation of the Project, there was a sense of urgency and the Steering Committee had the responsibility of ensuring that partners engaged in the Project would deliver their part within the time frame for reporting.
Ms. Catherine Stewart of CIDA Ghana said, CIDA’s expectations of the Project were very high, explaining that evidence of behavioural change among community members and health care providers, as well as behavioural change on issues around gender were key indicators that would be expected after the Project.
The WATCH Project is being implemented in five countries, namely Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh with an amount of three Million dollars ($3M) from the Canadian International Agency through the Muskoka Initiative and technical and advisory support from Plan Canada.
Under Canada’s leadership, the G-8 launched the Muskoka Initiative on maternal and child health, a comprehensive and integrated approach to accelerate progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which seek to reduce by two-thirds the under-five child mortality rate, and reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio, respectively.
The Initiative will reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under-five child deaths in developing countries by supporting strengthened country-led national health systems in developing countries, to enable delivery of key interventions along the continuum of care.