This is a result of the formation and training of the 151 TBAs by the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternative (PARDA) and OXFAM Maternal Project, which begun in March, 2011 in the region, with the first phase ending in March 2012. The Project is currently running in its second phase and would continue till March 2013.
For instance this year, the TBAs in the Bolgatanga Municipality, Bawku West and Kassena-Nankana East Districts referred 5, 924 pregnant women to various health facilities in the Region who delivered safely.
These developments came to light during a Conference on Maternal and Child Health on the PARDA-OXFAM Maternal Health Project, under the theme” Relevance of By-laws in Promoting Maternal and Child Health in the Upper East Region.”
The Conference, organised in Bolgatanga, which brought together, among stakeholders including Traditional Authorities and their elders, Assembly Members, Regional Health Director, District Health Directors, TBAs and Community Health Committees (CHCs) among others, was to deliberate on how they could fashion out strategies to own the process when the project period ends.
Speaking at the Conference, the Programme Director of PARDA, Dr Michael Wombeogo stated that findings conducted two year back, proved that about 75 women die in Ghana every week because of complications during pregnancies and childbirth.
“This has a devastating impact on their families and communities, a major barrier to the country’s development. The Upper East Region is one of the hardest hit in this area of concern and is a suitable catchment area for an intervention such as the Maternal Mortality Project and that is why we initiated and started the project here to help reduce the canker. We are happy that the project had helped reduce the menace”, he stressed.
Dr Wombeogo said so far, the Project had trained 189 CHCs to assist the TBAs in discharging their duties and that they currently educating and sensitizing pregnant women to live on good diet and antenatal care regularly.
Two hundred and thirty-four mobile phones have been provided to TBAs in six communities. One hundred and fifty-three (153) TBAs and Midwives have attended workshops on sharing and exchanging ideas on indigenous and modern practices on maternal mortality. Maternal healthcare information had been delivered to 5,542 homes, Traditional Authorities and Assembly Members in the catchment area. They had also been trained on the need to discourage pregnant women from delivering at home.
He said he was happy that the TBAs and CHCs systems are well established structures in the communities and that it had been effectively linked to the health centres to ensure their long term existence.
The communities have been involved greatly in the implementation process and have been made to own it. This has beefed-up commitment of traditional authorities in promoting maternal healthcare.
Dr Wombeogo entreated the communities to see the project as their own and sustain it to promote maternal healthcare delivery to reduce maternal mortality.
The District Director of the Kessna-Nankana East, Mr Margaret Bawa reiterated the need to ensure that they own the process since as health workers and NGOs they would not continue to remain with them.
The Bawku West District Director of Health Services, Mrs Mary-Stella Adapesah stressed the need for the project to be up-scaled to all the Districts in the Region to have a greater impact in those areas.
The Chief of Zuarungu, Peter Adongo, who chaired the conference, entreated his colleagues to institute by-laws that would compel pregnant women in their communities to patronize health centres before, during after delivering.
Mr Aaron Kampim, Project Officer of Health Projects, said PARDA would continue to build the capacity of the TBAs, CHCs , Traditional Authorities and Assembly Members on the Maternal Mortality project, especially in the area of lobbying advocacy till the project ends.