Kintampo (BE/R), April 25, GNA – The Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) is working to produce results from a study it conducted on varied infections transferred from mother to baby and on anaemia in pregnant women.

The infections dubbed gRAPHS, are Group B Streptococcus, Respiratory Syncytial virus, Influenza, and Pertussis (GRIP).

The infection study aims at producing data and information on gRAPHS due to the paucity of information on the subject matter in the country, while that on anaemia in pregnant women is aimed at collecting data to address the public health challenge, which causes births with complications.

Mrs Irene Apewe Adjei, a Research Fellow, KHRC, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on gRAPHS, explained that the research, which is a GRIP study on burden of the infections, could be passed from mother to baby through utero transmission, during delivery or after delivery.

The paucity of information, she said was a public health challenge in Ghana and the entire Sub-Saharan Africa as it could cause morbidity in mother or child.

“The study, therefore, intends to unearth how big the problem is and we have started the test on 1,200 pregnant women in the Kintampo North and South Districts where we took blood samples and vaginal swaps to assess the existence of the infections and how serious they were,” she explained.

One of the hindrances to conduct frequents tests in Ghana, Mrs Adjei said was the high cost involved.

As part of the study, the Research Fellow said the Centre also monitored the infected babies from birth until they were a year old to assess their health and how well they achieved their various developmental milestones.

The results from the study would enable the Centre to make appropriate recommendations to policy makers for interventions, Mrs Adjei said.

Mr Lawrence Gyabaa Febir, a Research Fellow, KHRC, working on the ‘Gender Disparity in Anaemia”, said the study had become crucial as anaemia was more pronounced among pregnant women.

He said literature indicated that there were disparities in males and females in relationships as a result of beliefs and cultural practices, which contributed to bad birth outcomes.

Such birth outcomes for fetuses include low birth weight, birth asphyxia (when a baby does not receive enough oxygen before, during or just after birth) and perinatal death.

It also makes expectant mothers give birth to children who look smaller than their age, he said.

Anaemia in pregnant women also causes preterm deliveries, heart failure, postpartum hemorrhage, aside death.

According to the World Health Organization, Mr Febir said about 30 per cent of pregnant women in 2021 were anaemic.

The Research Fellow explained that the proposal, therefore, sought to understand the beliefs around the food pregnant women ate and what they perceived about anaemia.

“There are anecdotes around the area that suggest that if a pregnant woman eats snails, her child will become slow or have cerebral palsy.

“Other practices at homes make women vulnerable because most of the decisions are taken by men including what the entire family should eat and there are instances where women even eat last because there isn’t enough food for the family, even when they are pregnant,” Mr Febir noted.

He said the Centre would engage community opinion leaders including Chiefs, Pastors, Imams, and families for their perceptions on anaemia, to initiate an intervention to control the health challenge.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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