Youth Rise International holds community Health Education Forum to mark International Women’s Day

Youth Rise International (YoRI) and its partners, including the Women in Distress Africa (WiDA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has organised a community health education forum at Ekumfi Ekumpoano, in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region. Hundreds of pregnant women, nursing mothers, men, and youth from eight high risk grassroots communities in the Ekumfi district were sensitized and educated using various innovative communication for development tools, channels and strategies targeting behavioural change or modification. The event formed part of the implementation of, ‘Towards Achieving Zero Newborn and Maternal Mortality in Grassroots Communities’ project being funded by the Otto per Mille of the Waldesian Church of Italy. The project seeks to educate and sensitize 10,000 community members and directly assist 90 pregnant women to deliver safely across eight endemic grassroots communities in Ghana by 2023. The Executive Director, Mr David Awusi stressed that health education was essential to addressing issues on stillbirth, newborn, infant and maternal mortality especially in vulnerable communities. He bemoaned that even though Ghana had embraced the World Health Organization’s policy of prohibiting deliveries at home, there were still hundreds of deliveries done in rural communities. Mr Awusi said apart from extreme poverty, vulnerable communities also faced the negative impact of lack of access to quality healthcare, teenage pregnancy, and proper delivery of babies. For instance, according to the Ekumfi District Health Directorate, 21 percent of pregnant women in the district deliver at home and in religious centers thereby, increasing stillbirth, newborn and maternal mortality risk, and vulnerability. To compound the dire situation, he added that the Ekumfi district with about 60,000 population, did not have a District Hospital. In that regard, YoRI appealed to the Government through the Ministry of Health via its Agenda 111 to prioritize the Ekumfi District by establishing one District Hospital for the Area. This, Mr Awusi noted, would be a bold step and a demonstration of the strong political will and commitment of government towards protecting women and girls particularly in the fight against newborn and maternal mortality in Ekumfi District. ‘When pregnant women delay or experience birth complications at the CHPS Compound or Health Centre, they are forced to refer them to other districts where such health facilities are available thereby, putting the life of the woman and the foetus at risk,’ he indicated. ‘A classic situation recorded in 2022 in the district, resulted in maternal mortality at the referral hospital. Youth Rise International’s position is that the life of every mother and child matters, and the time to end home delivery is now or never,’ Mr Awusi added. According to a UNICEF Report, various factors had been reported to influence home delivery among pregnant women including poor quality health services, low educational level, health care cost, socio-cultural practices, maternal parity, and knowledge on pregnancy risk factors. YoRI is a youth-led grassroots and advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that mobilizes the youth and rural communities to fight extreme poverty, marginalization and newborn, child, and maternal mortality.

Source: Ghana News Agency