Tamale NGO appeals to GHS to adopt maternal technology

The Savannah Signatures, a non-governmental organization using Information Communication Technology (ICT) to promote development, has appealed to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to adopt the use of maternal technology, as a measure to reduce maternal mortalities so as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Miss Elizabeth Hariba Jakalia, Project Officer, Technology for Maternal Health of the Savana Signatures, observed that if the GHS adopted its technology where expectant mothers were educated periodically using ICT and given SMS messages concerning their pregnancies, maternal deaths could drastically be reduced in the country.

Miss Jakalia told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tamale on Friday after a tour of some health institutions where the NGO was implementing an innovative maternal mortality project in four districts of the Northern Region.

She said the project was a two-year pilot in Kumbungu district, Savelugu/Nanton and Yendi Municipalities and the Tamale Metropolis using four hospitals as the implementing platforms, and stressed that it had so far registered some 3,365 pregnant women who receive sms weekly about their health and pregnancy related issues.

Miss Jakalia stated that STAR-Ghana, a multi-dollar pool funding agency was funding the pilot project, which is expected to reach 60 per cent of pregnant women visiting those facilities, and that the expected outcome had already been achieved since almost all pregnant mothers receive messages either on voice, sms messages or via video during antenatal attendance.

She explained that a total of 36 computers have been installed in the beneficiary hospitals with maternal care software, and six projectors as well as headphones provided for easy transmission of the necessary information to pregnant women, noting that all the computers have been connected to the internet to enable midwives get easy access to information for education.

The Project Officer recommended the need for the project to be upscaled and incorporated into activities of Ghana Health Service, due to the enormous advantages. noting that the pilot ends in April 2015.

Dr Akwasi Twumasi, Northern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service also in an interview with GNA, lauded the technology for maternal health project, and described it as a novelty, which must be incorporated into the Ghana Health Services’ activities to aid maternal health.

He suggested the need for the Savana Signatures to widen the project to reach all the 26 districts in the region, and subsequently capture the entire country, and indicated that its sustainability would in the long run reduce the load on nurses since all other health education could be mounted on the platform

Dr Twumasi, however, expressed worry that the Service does not have the needed financial muscle to upscale the project until it gets some funding from donor agencies stressing that it would have helped in tackling MDGs Four and Five, which were both necessary in maternal and infant health.

Madam Yussif Ayisha, a pregnant woman who receives weekly voice messages through the system, commended Savana Signatures for the initiative, explaining that it had been very educative for her since that was her first time of getting pregnant. GNA

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