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The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, has commissioned a 20-bed maternity ward in the Chuchulga community in the Upper East region.
The project was funded through the Australian government’s Direct Aid Program (DAP), which was implemented by RISE Ghana, a local NGO working to improve human rights and ensure sustainable development in Ghana.
Addressing a gathering of chiefs and people of Chuchulga, local government and health officials as well as the NGO staff, High Commissioner Barnes indicated that the Chuchulga maternity ward project is one of five health, water, sanitation and hygiene projects funded by the 2018 Direct Aid Program. In 2017, the High Commission supported the provision of mechanised boreholes in four health facilities in both the Kassena Nankana West and the Builsa-North districts.
High Commissioner Barnes explained the rationale behind the project; “We were happy to support the request because of our firm commitment to helping improve sanitation and health outcomes for people living in vulnerable situations”.
Thanks to this project, the Chuchuliga health centre now has 24-hour access to clean water, significantly improving the quality of material and neonatal health delivery.
Mr Barnes expressed satisfaction about the significant increase in the number of women who now access maternal health services at the facility, noting; “We learn from the health centre that they used to record up to 20 cases of sepsis and other infections in a month. After the project in 2017, the health centre reports that it now records a maximum of one case a month.
“That is the difference that access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities can make; and that is what the Direct Aid Program is all about – making modest contributions to improve services for the vulnerable in the communities around Ghana and West Africa. It is working with communities to achieve a tangible, immediate development impact”.
While Ghana’s maternal mortality rate has experienced significant decline over the past several years, a lot remains to be done in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of 70 per 100,000 live births in 2030. Mr Barnes expressed the hope that the modest project would go a long way to improving quality of health care by reducing the maternal and neonatal mortality.
The Executive Director of RISE Ghana, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama in his remarks noted the 20-bed maternity facility will directly benefit “an estimated 2,230 Women in Fertility Age (WiFA) and over 10,000 other women and children, indirectly”
In 2018, the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program supported 21 projects across the High Commission’s nine countries of accreditation (Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo).
Source: Ms Mercy C. Adjabeng
Research and Public Affairs Officer, Australian High Commission (Accra)